Half of American cosmetics contain toxic chemicals

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From VOA Learning English, here is the Health and Lifestyle report.

More than half of cosmetics sold in the United States and Canada contain dangerous chemicals linked to serious health problems. A new study says these conditions include cancer and reduced birth weight in newborns.

Cosmetics are substances that you put on your face or body to improve the appearance. Another name for cosmetics is makeup.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana have tested more than 230 commonly used cosmetics. They found that 56 percent of foundations and eye products, 48 ​​percent of lip products and 47 percent of mascaras contain fluorine.

The Associated Press recently reported on the story and explained fluoride this way. Fluoride is a irritant gaseous chemical element. Fluoride is also a indicator so-called “forever chemicals” called PFAS, spelled PFAS. Synthetic PFAS molecules contain fluorine and are used in some cooking vessels, flooring and many other products.

Some of the highest levels of PFAS have been found in waterproof mascara and long-lasting lipstick. This is just one of the results of the study recently published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology Letters.

The researchers performed additional tests on 29 products containing higher amounts of fluoride. Researchers have found that they contain between four and 13 specific PFAS chemicals. However, only one of these tested products listed PFAS as ingredient on its container.

Mascara is applied to the lashes, making them darker and longer. (Photo courtesy of Pulpworks)

The United States Food and Drug Administration oversees cosmetics in the country. A spokesperson for the agency said the FDA is not commenting on specific studies. The FDA said on its website that there had been few studies on the amount of chemicals in cosmetics. And published studies have generally found very low levels of chemicals. The FDA website also notes that levels this low are unlikely to cause harm.

A fact sheet posted on the agency’s website states, “As the science of PFAS in cosmetics continues to advance,” the FDA will continue to analyze The data cosmetics industry as well as published research.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency also collects industry data on the use of PFAS chemicals and the associated health risks. It is considering regulations to reduce the possible risks caused by chemicals.

On its website, the EPA states that PFAS chemicals stay in the environment and in the human body for a very long time. They do not break down and can build up over time. The site adds that there is evidence that exposure to PFAS can cause several health problems.

PFAS chemicals are a growing concern for lawmakers striving to control their use in consumer some products. The results of the study were announced as a group of US senators introduced a bill to ban the use of PFAS in cosmetics and other beauty products.

The decision to ban PFAS comes as Congress reviews the legislation. The legislation aims to establish a national standard for drinking water for certain PFAS chemicals. It also includes cleaning up polluted areas across the United States. Large-scale tests in recent years have revealed high levels of PFAS in many public water supply systems and military bases.

“There is nothing safe and nothing good about PFAS,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat from the state of Connecticut. He introduced the cosmetics bill with Senator Susan Collins, a Republican from Maine.

Representative Debbie Dingell, a Democrat from Michigan, has supported several PFAS-related bills in the House of Representatives. She researched PFAS in her own beauty products. However, she could not see if they were present as the products were not marked correctly.

“How do I know he doesn’t have PFAS?” She asked at a recent press conference. She was talking about the eye makeup, foundation and lipstick she was wearing.

Blumenthal defines himself as a fighter for the consumer. Companies wishing to avoid possible government regulation should voluntarily do without PFAS, added Blumenthal.

He said that even though he didn’t wear makeup, he and his supporters had a message for the cosmetics industry: “We trusted you and you. betrayed we.”

And that’s the health and lifestyle report. I am Anna Matteo.

Matthieu daly reported this story to the Associated Press. Anna Matteo adapted this for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

Quiz – Half of American Cosmetics Contains Toxic Chemicals

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Words in this story

beauty products – not. a substance (such as a cream, lotion, or powder) that you put on your face or body to improve your appearance

foundation – not. a cosmetic generally used as a make-up base

irritant – adj. cause discontent, anger or annoyance

indicator – not. a sign that shows the state or existence of something

specific – adj. related to To a person, a situation, etc.

ingredient – not. one of the things that is used to make a food, a product, etc.

The data – not. facts or information usually used to calculate, analyze or plan something

exposure – not. the condition of being subjected to an injurious effect or a deleterious condition

consumer – not. a person who buys goods and services

to betray – v. tell in violation of a trust


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