High Levels of Toxic ‘Forever Chemicals’ Found in more Than Half of Cosmetics Sold in U.S.

Jessica Sieff

Many cosmetics sold in the U.S. and Canada likely contain high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a potentially toxic class of chemicals linked to a number of serious health conditions, according to new research from the University of Notre Dame.

Scientists tested more than 200 cosmetics including concealers, foundations, eye and eyebrow products and various lip products. According to the study, 56% of foundations and eye products, 48% of lip products and 47% of mascaras tested were found to contain high levels of fluorine, which is an indicator of PFAS use in the product.

Previously found in nonstick cookware, treated fabrics, fast food wrappers and most recently, the personal protective equipment used by fire fighters across the country, PFAS are known as “forever chemicals,” because the chemical compounds don’t naturally degrade — which means they end up contaminating groundwater for decades after their release into the environment.

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