Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine introduced a bill Tuesday that bans the use of toxic PFAS chemicals in manufacturing cosmetics.
“We should sound the alarm so consumers will be as outraged as we all should be that millions of people are, in fact, poisoning themselves by putting these toxins on their skin unknowingly and likely unwillingly," Blumenthal said.
Notre Dame University researcher Graham Peaslee co-authored a recent study that shows these toxins are used in more than 100 common cosmetic products, including some waterproof mascara brands.
Even worse, he said fewer than 8% listed PFAS as an ingredient on the label.
“So that means that the products in North America are not being labelled such that a consumer could find out how to avoid them. We’re trying to get the industry to respond by and say, this is something that could be very easily corrected and could be identified by labelling, and the consumers can identify what they’re buying," Peaslee said.
Peaslee said PFAS can enter the body through wearing makeup, but the chemicals also end up polluting the water and land when the products are washed off or thrown away.
Because removing these toxins from the environment is costly, lawmakers said a ban is the most effective way to halt their effects.