Amy Rand, Assistant professor, Environmental Chemistry and Toxicology, Carleton University research work say chemicals in cosmetics and personal care products remain in our bodies and environments for a longer period of time.

The research work has measured PFAS in cosmetics and personal care products purchased in Canada. Products included bronzers, concealers, foundations, shaving creams, sunscreens and moisturizers.

PFAS were extracted from each product and measured using mass spectrometry instrumentation. These instruments identify individual PFAS present in the products, at high milligram amounts or down to a trillionth of a gram.

Particularly high levels stemmed from products containing the following ingredients: C6-16 perfluoroalkyl ethyl phosphates, perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, and perfluorobutyl ethers. The Canadian government has prohibited some PFAS from products, including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), and any chemical that degrades to produce PFOA.

New proposed Canadian PFAS regulations will set a threshold level at one microgram per gram in products. This means that PFAS at or below this level would be incidental and the prohibition would not apply. Also, they found that some products contained PFAS — including those prohibited from use — at levels a thousand times higher than the incidental level — pointing towards a lack of oversight when it comes to managing PFAS in the personal care product industry.

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