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What Products Contain PFAS?

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, also known as “PFAS forever chemicals” are contained in thousands of everyday consumer items including shampoo, couches and carpets, dental floss, bicycle lubricant, to name a few. Recent studies have found that exposure to PFAS may increase the risk of severe health problems such as cancer, liver damage, decreased fertility, and increased risk of asthma and thyroid disease.
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Where are PFAS Found?

You can find PFAS in the following products:

  • Waterproof apparel
  • Firefighting foam used on fuel-based fires
  • Coated paper products
  • Grease and waterproof coatings on popcorn bags, fast food wrappers, and takeout containers
  • Engineered coatings used in semiconductor production
  • Surfaces in food processing equipment, including tubing in ice cream and soda dispensers

Some PFAS are also intentionally added as ingredients in certain cosmetic products to improve product consistency and texture, or to give the products a waterproof quality. These products include:

  • Lotions
  • Cleansers
  • Nail polish
  • Shaving cream
  • Foundation, lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara

Related Article: PFAS Exposure Lawsuit Update

How Do I Know if a Product Contains PFAS?

PFAS chemicals are often listed on product labels, so you should avoid any ingredient with “fluoro” in the name. The label of a product sold to consumers declares the ingredients in descending order of predominance. Some common PFAS used as ingredients includes PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, perfluorononyl dimethicone, perfluorodecalin, and perfluorohexane.

PFAS in Cosmetic Products

A June 2021 study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology [1] used particle-induced gamma-ray emission spectroscopy to test 231 cosmetic products across 8 categories purchased in the U.S. and Canada for PFAS.

The categories analyzed were concealers, eye products, eyebrow products, face products, foundations, lip products, mascaras, and miscellaneous. Brands included in the study were Clinique, CoverGirl, Estée Lauder, L’Oréal, Mac, Maybelline, and Nars.

The researchers found the products with the highest fluorine levels were ones labeled as waterproof and long-lasting — namely foundations, liquid lipsticks, and waterproof mascaras. They detected high levels of organic fluorine, which indicates the presence of PFAS, in more than half of the samples tested.

Related Article: Household Products That Contain PFAS

Why is Getting PFAS Out of Our Products So Hard?

The U.S. EPA recently issued 2 updated interim drinking water health advisories for PFOA and PFOS — 2 major PFAS that have been phased out of manufacturing in the U.S. but are still widely used in other parts of the world. EPA also issued advisories for 2 newer, “short-chain” PFAS known as PFBS and “GenX chemicals” which were developed to replace PFOA and PFOS, yet have been linked to many of the health problems associated with legacy PFAS.

Unfortunately, those EPA advisories are not legally binding, and PFAS are largely unregulated, so there is nothing stopping manufacturers from using the chemicals in their supply chains. Most companies face limited pressure to get PFAS out of their supply chains.

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If you or a loved one was injured by PFAS contamination, you should contact our law firm immediately for a free case evaluation. You may be entitled to a settlement by filing a suit and we can help.

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