Toxic Forever Chemicals (PFAS) in Cosmetics

Published June 4, 2018 

Learn More on PFAS Chemicals Found in Cosmetics

A study by the Environmental Working Group found that several beauty and skincare products contain Teflon, the polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE brand nameor other chemicals known as per - and polyfluorlkyl substances, known as PFAS chemicals.

What are the PFOA and PFOS Chemicals?

PFOA and its close chemical cousin PFOS were phased out under pressure from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) after revelations that secret internal company studies showed they cause cancer and birth defects in lab animals, buildup in people's bodies, and did not break down in the environment.

PFAS is Persistent 

PFAS chemicals pollute water, are persistent in the environment, and remain in the body for years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, fluorinated chemicals contaminate the bodies of nearly all Americans. 

Why is PFAS in our Beauty Products? 

PFAS chemical is an ingredient that repels water. Waterproof mascaras and eyeliners, for example, are common makeup items that may use PFAS chemicals. These chemicals through the skin are not expected to be a significant route of exposure, but these chemicals shouldn't be in cosmetics.

  • PTFE (Teflon)
  • Perfluorononyl Dimethicone
  • Perfluorodecalin
  • C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate
  • Octafluoropentyl Methacrylate
  • Perfluorohexane 
  • Pentafluoropropane
  • Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluoroethyl Peg Phosphate
  • Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Peg-2 Phosphate
  • Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether
  • Perfluorononylethyl Carboxydecyl Peg-10 Dimethicone
  • Perfluorodimethylcyclohexane
  • Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene

The EWG searched a database that contained over 74,000 products and identified 13 different PFAS chemicals in almost 200 products, including makeup, shampoo, and sunscreen, from 28 brands. Of those nearly 200 products, 66 products from 15 brands contained Teflon.
    Choose personal care products without "PTFE" or "FLUORO" ingredients. One simple way to identify these potentially harmful ingredients is to look at your product labels for the term “fluoro,” which may appear in a longer name, such as perfluoroalkyl dimethicone or perfluorodecalin.

    Below we share examples of products that have chemicals in the ingredients:

    C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate
    Clinique Makeup
    Perfluorononyl Dimethicone
    Brow Master Gel
    Methyl Perfluorobutyl Ether, Methyl Perfluoroisobutyl Ether
    Beauty Pro Detoxifying bubbling cleansing mask
    Perfluorodecalinbliss triple oxygen day cream

    PFAS: Perfluorohexane, Perfluoroperhydrophenanthrene, Perfluorodecalin, Perfluorodimethylcyclohexane
    Ex-glow-sion Moisture Cream

    PFAS: Methyl perfluoroisobutyl ether, Methyl perfluorobutyl ether
    Fabulips Foaming Lip Cleanser

    e.l.f. Cosmetics Bronzing Powder

    e.l.f. Cosmetics Finishing Powder

    e.l.f. Cosmetics Contouring Clay Eyeshadow

    Gillette Satin Care Ultra Sensitive women's Shave Gel
    Perfluorononyl Dimethicone
    Healing Strength, Neem plant silk serum

    PFAS: Polyperfluoroethoxymethoxy Difluoroethyl Peg Phosphate
    Smooth Finish Foundation Powder 

    PFAS: C9-15 Fluoroalcohol Phosphate
    Tightline Cake Eye Liner

    Extended play gigablack lash mascara
    App├ętit, Balm desert, Cabanaboy, Downboy, Fratboy, Highlight ‘n con tour, Mary-Lou manizer, Meet matt(e) nude, Nude eyeshadow palette, Put a lid on it, Sexy mama, The manizer sisters

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