A new study from the University of Notre Dame reveals more than half of cosmetic products sold and used in the United States and Canada contain cancer-causing ingredients. Numerous cosmetic items include significant amounts of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), according to the study, which was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.
According to the study, these compounds, sometimes known as "forever chemicals," have been related to kidney cancer, testicular cancer, hypertension, thyroid disease, low birth weight, and immunotoxicity in children. Over 200 cosmetic products were tested, including concealers, foundations, eye and brow cosmetics, and a variety of lip products.
Hundreds of cosmetics products consumed in the US could cause various diseases
A press release accompanying the study said the researchers looked at the amounts of fluorine in each of the cosmetic products, which is an indication of PFAS usage in the product. Fluorine was found in high concentrations in 58% of other eye products, including shadows, primers, liners, creams, and pencils, and in 40% of other face products, including powders, highlighters, primers, blush, bronzers, and sprays. There were no specific brands mentioned in the study.
"These findings are particularly concerning when you consider the risk of consumer exposure combined with the size and scale of a multibillion-dollar industry that provides these products to millions of consumers every day," said Graham Peaslee, a Notre Dame physics professor and the study's principal investigator, Newsweek reported. According to the study, they examined 29 products with high levels of fluorine and determined that they included between four and thirteen different PFAS. Only one of the products in this category had PFAS mentioned on the label.
Peaslee described the findings as "shocking." He claims that the cosmetics not only represent an acute risk to consumers but also long-term harm. "PFAS is a chemical that lasts a long time. When it enters the bloodstream, it remains there and builds up," Peaslee explained. The chemicals also offer a danger of environmental contamination during manufacture and disposal.
Where is PFAS commonly used?
Nonstick cookware, water-repellent sports gear, cosmetics, and grease-resistant food packaging, as well as firefighting foams, all include the chemical compounds. Exposed populations have been linked to a variety of health issues, including certain malignancies, reduced immunity, and low birth weight, according to public health research. In recent years, extensive testing has revealed significant amounts of PFAS in many public water systems and military locations.
Per Channel News Asia, Arlene Blum, a research co-author and executive director of the Green Science Policy Institute, a Berkeley, California-based advocacy group, said that PFAS compounds are not necessary for producing cosmetics. She also said that due to the possible danger, they should not be used in personal care products."
A tiny number of PFAS compounds may be found as components or at trace quantities in items such as lotion, nail polish, eye makeup, and foundation, according to the Personal Care Products Council, a trade group representing the cosmetics industry.
According to Alexandra Kowcz, the council's chief scientist, the compounds are used for product consistency and texture and are subject to FDA safety regulations. She assured that their members take product safety seriously. She also stated that their association supports the removal of particular PFAS in cosmetics. "Everything we do is built on the foundation of science and safety," Kowcz added, as per Trail Times.