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Cancer-Causing PFAS Chemicals Found in Makeup

Riddle Brantley LLP   |  June 18, 2021   |  

PFAS in Makeup Presents Major Cancer Risk

A study has found high levels of the toxic chemicals known as PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) in a majority of makeup products sold in the United States and Canada.

According to a report published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 52 percent of 231 makeup products tested had elevated markers for potentially cancer-causing PFAS. PFAS chemicals were found in 63 percent of foundations, 82 percent of waterproof mascara, and 62 percent of long-lasting lipstick.

“We didn’t expect almost every cosmetic to light up like it did.”

-researcher Graham Peaslee, professor of physics, chemistry, and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame

PFAS in Makeup and Cancer Risk - Riddle & BrantleyAccording to a CNN report, Peaslee stated that the cosmetic companies’ failure to disclose the presence of PFAS was the “most disturbing finding.”

“Some of it could be unintentional, due to manufacturing issues, but there are several products where the levels are so large, they had to be intentionally added for something like durability or water resistance, because that’s what PFAS do very well,” said Peaslee.

Are Makeup Companies Hiding Cancer-Causing Chemicals?

Alarmingly, the same study found that 88 percent of makeup products tested did not disclose any ingredients that would explain the elevated levels of PFAS — even though this disclosure is required by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“It’s a little shocking and hopefully a wake-up call for the cosmetics industry in terms of how widespread the PFAS contamination is across types of makeup products,” said David Andrews, who works with the Environmental Working Group (EWG), an organization that tracks toxic chemicals in personal care products.

PFAS in makeup is particularly troubling because many of the products with elevated PFAS levels are applied close to the eyes and lips — where absorption and ingestion may inadvertently occur more easily.

US Congress Considers Regulation of PFAS in Makeup

In response to the alarming study, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the US Senate that would require the FDA to ban the addition of PFAS chemicals to cosmetics products. The bill was introduced by Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT). A similar bill was introduced in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI).

PFAS and Cancer Risk

PFAS chemicals are known as “forever” chemicals because they can build up and persist in the human body without degrading. In fact, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, “scientists are unable to estimate an environmental half-life for PFAS, which is the amount of time it takes 50% of the chemical to disappear.”

Many studies have linked PFAS to cancer.

In 2017, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classified PFAS as a possible human carcinogen, meaning that it may cause cancer. While many different types of cancer may be linked to PFAS exposure, the IARC specifically lists kidney cancer and testicular cancer as diseases that may be caused by PFAS chemicals.

In the United States, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), a division of the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), similarly warns that PFAS exposure may cause kidney and testicular cancer.

Where is PFAS Found?

PFAS chemicals have been found in the drinking water supply of communities across the United States, and are also present in many consumer and commercial products, including Teflon, certain cleaning products and personal care products, paints, varnishes, and sealants, and AFFF “firefighting foam.” Our attorneys are actively investigating AFFF cancer claims by firefighters and property owners potentially affected by runoff.

Do You Have a PFAS Cancer Claim?

If you or a loved one has been exposed to PFAS and been diagnosed with a qualifying cancer, you may be entitled to compensation in a PFAS lawsuit.

Those at risk of potential PFAS-related cancer include but are not limited to:

  • Firefighters using AFFF “firefighting foam”
  • Property owners whose drinking water is contaminated with PFAS, especially those located near sources of runoff from manufacturers, airports, military facilities, etc.
  • Individuals using cleaning products containing PFAS

If you have been exposed to PFAS and developed cancer, you may qualify for a lawsuit.If you believe exposure to PFAS has caused your cancer, don’t wait to have your claim investigated. Please call 1-800-525-7111 for a FREE, no-obligation consultation with an experienced PFAS lawsuit attorney at Riddle & Brantley.

Since 2000 alone, we’ve recovered more than $600 million in total compensation for victims of others’ negligence, and we would love to help you if we can.

Call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s review your claim.

Justice Counts for those who have suffered from cancer potentially due to PFAS, and we are committed to helping hold potentially negligent manufacturers accountable.

Please call 1-800-525-7111 and let’s talk.


*** Disclaimer: The results mentioned are intended to illustrate the type of cases handled by the firm. These results do not guarantee a similar outcome, and they should not be construed to constitute a promise or guarantee of a particular result in any particular case. Every case is different, and the outcome of any case depends upon a variety of factors unique to that case.