BBC investigation finds PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ still widely used in cosmetics
A new investigation by BBC News has revealed that several major beauty brands are using harmful PFAS ‘forever chemicals’ in their products.
PFAS are a family of over 4,700 synthetic chemicals. They can be found in a number of household products from food packaging to clothing due to their ability to repel water and grease, and it is these properties that make them valuable to the makeup industry.
PFAS do not break down naturally, which allows them to accumulate in the environment and in wildlife. They have been linked to several significant health concerns, including cancers and reduced immune function.
A freedom of information request by the BBC to the Environment Agency revealed which PFAS are still being used by the makeup industry. The BBC then searched for these chemicals in the ingredients’ lists of thousands of popular UK makeup brands. They found companies including Revolution, Inglot and Urban Decay, a subsidiary of L’Oréal, were still using PFAS in their products.
L’Oréal, Revolution and Inglot have all told the BBC they are aiming to phase PFAS out of their products.
This investigation joins a wealth of evidence demonstrating just how prevalent these toxic chemicals are in our daily lives. This study comes at a critical time, as last week 5 European countries – Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden – submitted a proposal to restrict PFAS in the EU. The proposal will be available to read in February.
CHEM Trust and partner’s ‘Ban PFAS manifesto’ urges the European Commission and EU Member States to ban PFAS in consumer products by 2025 and across all uses by 2030. Alongside other NGOs we are also calling for a ban on non-essential uses of PFAS in the UK.
You can find more information on avoiding harmful chemicals in cosmetics here