Half of cosmetics offered in Canada and the US comprise poisonous chemical compounds: Examine – Victoria Information
According to a new study, more than half of the cosmetics sold in the US and Canada are likely to contain high levels of a toxic industrial compound that has been linked to serious health conditions such as cancer and reduced birth weight.
Researchers from the University of Notre Dame tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics and found that 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras were high in fluorine – an indicator of PFAS, so-called “Forever Chemicals” used in nonstick frying pans, carpets, and countless other consumer products.
Some of the highest PFAS levels were found in waterproof mascara (82%) and long-lasting lipstick (62%), according to the study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters. Twenty-nine products with high concentrations of fluorine were further tested and contained between four and 13 specific PFAS chemicals, the study found. Only one article listed PFAS as an ingredient on the label.
The study results were announced when a bipartisan group of senators tabled a bill banning the use of PFAS or perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in cosmetics and other beauty products. The move to ban PFAS comes as Congress is considering sweeping legislation to establish a national drinking water standard for certain PFAS chemicals and clean up contaminated sites across the country, including military bases where high PFAS rates have been detected.
The Environmental Protection Agency is also trying to collect industry data on the use of PFAS chemicals and health risks as it is considering regulations to reduce potential risks posed by the chemicals.
“There’s nothing safe or good about PFAS,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Who introduced the Cosmetics Act with Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine. “These chemicals are a hidden public threat that people literally show on their faces every day.”
Rep Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., Who sponsored several PFAS-related bills at the House of Representatives, said she looked for PFAS in her own makeup and lipstick but couldn’t see if they were there because the products weren’t there were correctly marked.
“How do I know it doesn’t have PFAS?” She asked at a press conference Tuesday, referring to the eye makeup, foundation, and lipstick she was wearing. “People are being poisoned every day.”
Graham Peaslee, a physics professor at Notre Dame and lead investigator on the study, said the results were shocking. Not only do the cosmetics pose an immediate risk to users, they also pose a long-term risk, he said. “PFAS is a persistent chemical. When it gets into the bloodstream, it stays there and builds up, ”Peaslee said.
The chemicals also pose a risk of pollution related to manufacturing and disposal, he said.
“This should be a wake-up call for the cosmetics industry,” said David Andrews, a senior scientist with the Environmental Working Group, a Washington-based nonprofit that has campaigned for the containment of PFAS.
The products tested in the study “are used by millions of Americans every day. It is critical that we end all non-essential applications of PFAS, ”said Andrews.
The man-made compounds are used in countless products, including non-stick cookware, water-repellent sports equipment, cosmetics and grease-resistant food packaging and fire-fighting foams.
Public health studies in exposed populations have linked the chemicals to a number of health problems, including some cancers, compromised immunity, and low birth weight. Widespread testing in recent years has found high PFAS levels in many public water systems and military bases.
“No PFAS chemicals are required for makeup. Given their great potential for harm, I believe they shouldn’t be used in personal care products, ”said Arlene Blum, co-author of the study and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, an advocacy group in Berkeley, California.
A spokeswoman for the US Food and Drug Administration, which regulates cosmetics, initially refused to comment.
The Personal Care Products Council, a cosmetics industry trade association, said in a statement that a small number of PFAS chemicals can be found as ingredients or in trace amounts in products such as lotion, nail polish, eye makeup, and foundation. The chemicals are used for product consistency and texture and are subject to FDA safety requirements, said Alexandra Kowcz, chief scientist on the council.
“Our member companies take their responsibility for product safety and the trust families place in these products very seriously,” she said, adding that the group supports banning certain PFAS in cosmetics. “Science and safety are the basis of everything we do.”
Blumenthal, a former attorney general and a self-proclaimed “crusader” on behalf of consumers, said he did not use cosmetics. But on behalf of millions of cosmetics users, he said they had a message for the industry: “We trusted you and you betrayed us.”
Brands that want to avoid likely government regulation should voluntarily go PFAS-free, Blumenthal said. “Conscious and disgruntled consumers are the most effective advocates” for change. “
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