Push to get dangerous chemicals out of makeup and other beauty products

BOSTON, Mass — PFAS have been in the news a lot lately for threatening drinking water.

Officially known as per- and poly-fluoroalkyl, PFAS are also called “forever chemicals” because they never disintegrate.

The Centers for Disease Control believe they could be linked to cancer, increased risk of asthma, thyroid disease, and fertility issues.

Public health officials worry about the presence of these chemicals in many beauty products.

Boston 25 News asked shoppers in Charlestown how they feel about seeing so many chemicals that are unpronounceable on the labels of lotions, makeup, and shampoo.

One woman said, “I like to know the ingredients in a product so if I can’t pronounce it or I don’t know what they are, I don’t buy them. I like all natural products.”

Another woman added, “It’s never clear what’s in these and what it is and how they go there.”

Massachusetts state representative Kate Hogan (D-Stowe) is concerned about the presence of PFAS in beauty products because “when we’re talking about makeup or other products such as that, the ingestion level is so high because you’re putting it on your face or your body. It’s just very close.”

Hogan is the House sponsor of a wide-ranging bill that would reign in exposure to PFAS.

It not only addresses beauty products but also fire gear and housewares

“If we were to pass this bill, it would really make us a leader in dealing with, remediating, and removing PFAS from the environment, and that is where we want to be in Massachusetts. Our bill will be much more comprehensive than other bills that have been passed.”

Mia Davis, vice president of Sustainability and Impact at Credo Beauty, says they make every effort to keep PFAS off their shelves but admits that these chemicals are so ever-present that it can be impossible.

“All of the brands that you’ll find for sale at Credo Beauty, in our stores and online, are compliant with the Credo clean standard and do not use any PFAS as an intentional ingredient.”

Another challenge for shoppers is that the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t approve cosmetics and other health and beauty aids before they are on store shelves.

They don’t even require a full list of ingredients to be provided.

Davis has this advice for shoppers. “I think when you see a waterproof or lasts for 24 hours promise on a product, you should be wary because there’s some chemical in that product that is making that stick to your skin and it might be PFAS.”

If the bill becomes law, intentionally adding PFAS to a wide range of consumer products would be banned starting in 2026. More measures would kick in by 2030.

Boston 25 News reached out to the “Personal Care Products Council” to get their reaction to the Massachusetts bill.

They provided a statement that said some of their members have already removed PFAS from the products.

It went on to say “Nevertheless, our industry is committed to discontinuing the use of PFAS in our products. . .Our member companies take their responsibility for product safety and the trust families put in these products very seriously.”

This is a developing story. Check back for updates as more information becomes available.

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