Bill to ban PFAS in cosmetics moves forward in Washington

By Becky Bargh | Published: 22-Feb-2022

Lawmakers take step closer to banning cancer-causing chemical from cosmetics in US

A crackdown on the use of PFAS, or forever chemicals, is taking place in Washington, US, as the country moves to ban their use in cosmetics.

Senate Bill 5703 would forbid the sale and distribution of cosmetics with added PFAS – a known carcinogen that can cause breast, liver and ovarian cancers.

In a Senate vote, representatives passed the bill 26-21, pushing the legislation into the hands of the House.

A public hearing is expected to take place in the House Committee on 22 February, and an executive session is scheduled in the House on 24 February.

PFAS have earned the name ‘forever chemicals’ as they do not naturally degrade.

As a result, they wind up contaminating groundwater once they are released back into the environment.

The US has detected PFAS in drinking water in various cities across the country.

The price of beauty

Given their indestructible nature, PFAS are used in cosmetics to increase the durability of products.

They are also harnessed to impart water resistance, increase skin absorption and improve the appearance of skin’s texture.

A study by the University of Notre Dame found dozens of cosmetics sold in the US and Canada contained high levels of ‘toxic’ PFAS.

Cosmetics including mascaras, concealers, foundations, lipsticks and powders, were all found to contain the cancer-causing chemicals.

Products from L’Oréal, Ulta Beauty, CoverGirl and Clinique were tested.

The study did not reveal which brand’s skus contained PFAS, however.

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