Cosmetics made in the UK are still made with toxic chemicals, according to a BBC News investigation that was released on Friday.
The companies Revolution, Inglot, and Urban Decay, all of which are owned by L’Oréal, were revealed to BBC News through a Freedom of Information request to still be selling dozens of products that contain the environmental pollutants known as PFAS (poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances).
According to a BBC News report of Professor Miriam Diamond’s words, consumers should be concerned about low-level contamination in items because there is little knowledge about the long-term hazardous effects. Professor Diamond is an environmental chemist at Toronto University.
According to the Independent, PFAS are a class of chemicals that have been present in non-stick, stain-, and water-resistant products since the 1940s. According to the UK’s Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association, they have been utilised in cosmetics and makeup to make the products more easily applyable and water resistant (CTPA).
For instance, the CTPA stated that oil and water resistance can result in long-lasting skincare and makeup products that are more comfortable to wear. These qualities can also give hair fibres a sleek, high-gloss finish and frizz prevention.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, there is growing concern regarding the use of PFAs in the cosmetics and other industries because they have been linked to a number of negative health effects, including cancer, issues with reproduction and development, immune suppression, and cholesterol issues (EPA). Additionally, they don’t degrade in the environment and have been discovered in everything from human blood to rainwater to drinking water. There are worries that this extensive contamination could affect non-human species as well, particularly if they manage to get past wastewater treatment facilities and contaminate waterways.
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Some PFAS have already been linked to health effects in marine animals, such as decreased immune, liver, blood, and kidney function in bottlenose dolphins or thyroid hormone disruption in marine birds. According to Dr. Francesca Bevan, chemicals policy manager for the Marine Conservation Society, it’s likely only a matter of time before other health effects are recognised.
Regulation efforts have increased as worries about the substances have. The U.S. EPA proposed classifying two of the most prevalent PFAS as hazardous compounds under the Superfund rule and established new safety criteria for drinking water for them last year. Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden sent a proposal to the European Chemicals Agency to limit PFAS on the same day the BBC story was released.
According to BBC News, the inquiry was made possible by the UK’s efforts to learn more about the chemicals and their effects through an Environment Agency examination of the usage of PFAS in the UK.
Nine PFAS were still being utilised by the industry, according to CPTA, which informed the agency as part of the study; however, their identities were left out of the final report. After obtaining those identities via a Freedom of Information request, the BBC cross-referenced them with the ingredient lists of well-known UK cosmetics.
According to the investigation, PFAS PTFE and Polyperfluoromethylisopropyl Ether were found in a variety of items, including
- Relove High Key Shadow Palette
- Revolution Power Shadow Palette 90’S Baby
- I Heart Revolution Mini Match Palette Fried Egg Fred
- Urban Decay NAKED Palettes 2
- Urban Decay NAKED Palettes 3
- Urban Decay Smoked Palette
- Inglot X Maura Beautiful Storm Eyeshadow Palette
- Inglot Evening Kiss Eyeshadow Palette
- Inglot Complexion Perfection Essentials Palette Deep
L’Or al responded by announcing to BBC News that company has made the decision to phase out PFAS in 2018.
A spokeswoman said, “We have already removed PFASs from the majority of our products and the phase out and replacement plans are well advanced.
Although PFAS were emphasised to be legal in the UK and EU by both Revolution Beauty and Inglot, the former claimed it was phasing out the chemicals while the latter indicated it was looking into the potential.
According to a statement made by CPTA Director General Dr. Emma Meredith and published on the CPTA website, only 1.5% of CTPA member companies acknowledged using PFAS chemicals when polled in 2020. Innovative substitutes that provide consumers with the same benefits as the original product have been created by cosmetic scientists. As the UK government develops an action plan on PFAS, CTPA collaborates closely with the government. The usage of PFAS by all businesses in the future will be guided by science and based on risk, thus we warmly welcome any new research into this diverse set of chemicals.
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A coalition of more than 30 nongovernmental organisations urged the UK government to outlaw all non-essential PFAs in May 2022.
The letter stated that an immediate phase-out of all unneeded usage of all PFAS was necessary in order to successfully avoid PFAS pollution in the UK environment and protect future generations from the effects of the most persistent human-made chemicals known to date.
A report on the health effects of PFAS from the Health and Safety Executive, which should be released soon, is the first step in regulating them in the UK, according to BBC News.