Two U.S. Senators have introduced a bill seeking to rid popular cosmetics of harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), the same toxic “forever” chemicals used in firefighting foam products that have been linked to an increased risk of cancer in exposed populations. The bill, introduced by U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Richard Blumenthal on June 15, calls for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “ban the use of intentionally added perfluoroalkyl or polyfluoroalkyl substances in cosmetics,” such as makeup, perfume, and moisturizer products. If you or someone you love has developed cancer after being exposed to toxic PFAS chemicals, do not hesitate to speak to an experienced product liability lawyer about your legal options. You may be able to hold the manufacturing company liable for damages, and a knowledgeable attorney can help.
PFAS chemicals are a group of manmade chemicals that includes perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS). The chemicals were introduced in the 1940s and can be found in a variety of household products, such as nonstick cooking pans, cleaning products, polishes, paints, waxes, and water- and stain-repellent fabrics. PFAS chemicals are also commonly used in firefighter foam products, which has been identified as a major source of groundwater contamination at military bases and airports where firefighting training occurs. The frightening thing about PFAS chemicals is that they are very persistent in the environment and in the human body, meaning they do not break down and can build up over time, possibly increasing the risk of adverse human health effects. In fact, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) warns that PFAS can cause a myriad of health problems among exposed populations, possibly including increased cholesterol levels, thyroid hormone disruption, immunological effects, and cancer.
Although PFAS are best known for their use in firefighter foams used by military and civilian firefighters to suppress petroleum fires, the chemicals are also added to certain cosmetics to increase their durability and water resistance. In fact, this new bill, known as the “No PFAS in Cosmetics Act,” was proposed on the same day the journal Ecotoxicology and Public Health published a study highlighting the troubling presence of “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), a highly persistent and potentially toxic class of chemicals,” in popular cosmetic products purchased in the U.S. and Canada, including mascaras, foundations and lip products.
“The manufacture, use, and disposal of cosmetics containing PFAS are all potential opportunities for health and ecosystem harm,” wrote the researchers from the University of Notre Dame, who also noted that most of the cosmetics tested did not disclose the presence of PFAS. “Given their direct exposure routes into people, better regulation is needed to limit the widespread use of PFAS in cosmetics.” In a press release announcing the proposed bill to ban the inclusion of PFAS in cosmetics, Senator Blumenthal stated, “This important legislation would purge poisonous PFAS chemicals lurking in makeup and cosmetics. Chemicals in cosmetics are currently almost completely unregulated, leaving many consumers and makeup wearers vulnerable to these toxic chemicals from everyday use of lipstick, mascara, and other products.”
Too many people across the country have already been harmed by exposure to toxic PFAS chemicals in firefighter foam, contaminated drinking water, and other sources and routes of exposure, and it is time to take action to keep these manmade chemicals out of people’s bodies once and for all. The truth is that PFAS chemicals are not necessary for cosmetic products, and given their significant potential for harm, there is no reason for cosmetic manufacturers to be putting consumers at unnecessary risk for cancer and other serious side effects by adding PFAS to their products. To learn more about the harmful effects of PFAS chemicals, or to speak to someone about filing a firefighter foam PFAS exposure injury claim, contact Consumer Safety Watch today.