Think the makeup you’re putting on your skin each day is safe because the label says, “Clean” or even “Natural”?
Well, think again…
More than 200 cosmetics sold across the United States and Canada were recently tested — and there’s no doubt that your cosmetics could be hiding a dirty little secret: Toxic “forever chemicals” that could cause everything from thyroid disease to cancer.
Not just for Teflon cookware anymore
These toxic chemicals are per- and polyfluoroalkyl Substances (also known as PFAS chemicals). PFASs are endocrine–disrupting chemicals due to their ability to interfere with hormone systems and wreak havoc.
Previously these chemicals have been found in nonstick cookware — think Teflon — treated fabrics, fast food wrappers and even the personal protective equipment used by firefighters across the country.
They’re called “forever chemicals” because they don’t naturally degrade. That means that with every product that they end up contaminating our groundwater for decades after their release into the environment.
The state of Michigan even sued 3M over groundwater contamination due to PFAS chemicals.
And they’ve been linked to:
- Kidney and testicular cancers
- High blood pressure
- Thyroid problems
- Low birth weight
- Immuno-toxicity in children
They don’t simply stick around in the environment either.
Once they get into your bloodstream, these forever chemicals stick around and accumulate, which is why this latest study is so scary.
Slipping into your tear ducts and absorbing through your skin
That’s because after testing over 200 cosmetic products, researchers at the University of Notre Dame found PFAS in:
- 56 percent of foundations and eye products
- 48 percent of lip products
- 47 percent of mascaras (which showed high levels of fluorine, an indicator of PFAS use)
“These results are particularly concerning when you consider the risk of exposure to the consumer combined with the size and scale of a multibillion-dollar industry that provides these products to millions of consumers daily,” said Graham Peaslee, professor of physics at Notre Dame and principal investigator of the study.
According to the researchers, every time you use a cosmetic product contaminated with these toxins, they could absorb into your body through your skin. And when it comes to eye makeup, your tear ducts make the perfect highway for these chemicals to travel into your bloodstream.
Even more concerning is the fact that the researchers say that while 29 of the products tested were found to contain between four and 13 separate PFAS compounds, only one listed PFAS as an ingredient on the label!
Reducing your PFAS exposure
This means that it’s impossible to estimate your PFAS risk simply by checking the label for ingredients or even looking for words such as “Clean” and “Natural”.
A few terms the researchers do recommend being on the lookout for are “long-lasting” and “wear-resistant” since many waterproof foundations and mascaras use PFAS for their water-resistant properties.
In addition to cosmetics, you should also be aware of hidden PFAS in other personal care items. The Environmental Working Group is a great source for safer cosmetics and personal care items. Check their recommendation at EWG’s Skin Deep®
Reducing your exposure is the first step but longtime health researcher and editor of Easy Health Options, Virginia Tims-Lawson, suggests at least five ways to lessen your toxin load here.
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Use of PFAS in cosmetics ‘widespread,’ new study finds — ScienceDaily