Study Shows Cosmetics May Contain Potentially Toxic Chemicals Called PFAS


A new bipartisan bill called “The Personal Care Products Safety Act” or “The No PFAS in Cosmetics Act” may be the push we needed to properly regulate chemicals found in cosmetics. As CNN reports, this follows the release of a new study that found high levels of a marker for toxic PFAS substances—man-made chemicals typically used to make products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease and water—in 52-percent of 231 makeup products purchased in the United States and Canada.

The bill will ensure the FDA is reviewing concerning cosmetic chemicals and stopping the production of products as well as deploying a recall if a dangerous chemical is found.

“Most consumers would be shocked to learn that cosmetics companies can put just about any chemical in cosmetics and personal care products, no matter how dangerous,” says Scott Faber, senior vice president for government affairs at Environmental Working Group. “It’s been 83 years since Congress last passed a cosmetics law. The bipartisan Personal Care Products Safety Act will finally provide the Food and Drug Administration with the tools the agency needs to protect consumers from dangerous chemicals in these everyday products.”

Per the release, the bill will also list labeling requirements for fragrance allergens and forbid companies from adding PFAS to their cosmetic products. In a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Science & Technology Letters that examined high amounts of PFAS in cosmetics, scientists found high amounts of the toxic PFAS substances in the 231 products examined—specifically in 63 percent of foundations, 82 percent of waterproof mascaras and 62 percent of long-lasting lipsticks.

“It defies common sense that cosmetics companies can add PFAS—which have been linked to cancer and harm to the reproductive and immune systems—to their products,” says Faber. “The presence of toxic forever chemicals in cosmetics shows just how broken our cosmetics laws are.”