They’re in a lot of accessories, from firefighting foam to rain gear, but the PFAS in your makeup? Yuck.
Recently done a peer reviewed study PFAS (per- and perfluoroalkyl substances) found in cosmetics such as foundation, lip products and mascara. This means that we are applying PFAS-containing products directly to our skin, which could potentially lead to PFAS in our bodies. When we wash off makeup, chemicals can also go down the drain and eventually flow into waterways.
Given that PFAS are in so many things that we come into contact with every day, it’s no surprise that they end up in the food supply and even in breast milk.
our own peer reviewed study These “forever chemicals” were found in 100% breast milk samples from 50 women in Washington, along with the University of Washington and Indiana University. Linked to a wide range of health problems, from a weakened immune system to increased cholesterol levels and cancer, these chemicals have no place in our cosmetics or our bodies.
And PFAS is just the tip of the toxic iceberg. Everyday products such as shampoo and nail polish can be a source of exposure to chemicals such as phthalates and formaldehyde, with an even greater burden of exposure on women of color. There are safer alternatives to these hormone-disrupting and cancer-causing chemicals, making this toxic attack completely unnecessary.
New law on the way in Washington
Thankfully, a new bill introduced in the Washington State Senate targets toxic chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products.
SB 5703Toxic Free Cosmetics Act, sponsored by Senator Mona Dasso and bans some of the most related chemicals used in cosmetic products, including PFAS, phthalates, and formaldehyde. The sanctions will take effect in 2025.
The bill also requires the Department of Ecology and Health to create a community engagement plan by December 1, 2022. The plan would be:
- Test cosmetic products marketed to women of color and identify potentially harmful ingredients;
- Receiving information through outreach and providing culturally appropriate education about harmful ingredients used in cosmetics and other cosmetic products, prioritizing engagement with vulnerable populations; And
- Get recommendations for regulating priority chemicals or products under the Safe Products for Washington Program.
Taking the Market Off the Harmful Chemicals in the Beauty Aisle
The market is already moving away from dangerous chemicals in beauty products. major retailer Including Sephora, Target and Walmart are banning dangerous chemicals in beauty and personal care products. This year, Target expanded its Policy To address the broad universe of hazardous chemicals in beauty products, including PFAS.
Washington state is already addressing some toxic chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products under its Safer Products for Washington law. The legislature directed the Department of Ecology to act on the class of hormone-disrupting phthalates, and the agency has published a draft plan to ban phthalates in fragrances in cosmetics and personal care products.
The bill, if enacted into law, will play a key role in making cosmetics and personal care products safer and transforming global supply chains. What’s more, it begins to address environmental justice concerns, as harmful ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products disproportionately affect women of color.