WARNING: Toxic chemicals found in makeup – even high-end brands, survey finds – WSB-TV Channel 2


ATLANTA – It’s part of the daily routine of most women – putting on makeup.

But some of these products might contain poisons never before listed on the ingredient list, including some premium brands.

Makeup that women put on their skin may contain PFAS or permanent chemicals that never break down.

“It’s like taking a big risk for beauty,” said Stephanie Bennett, Atlanta metro makeup artist.

She sells her homemade lip products in her DeKalb County kitchen.

But she fears that even some of them may contain PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkylated substances.

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“Now that I know about this ingredient, I’ve even considered doing third-party testing on my own products,” Bennett said.

Researchers at the University of Notre Dame have found PFAS in several makeup products, from drugstores to high-end brands. Neither puts it on the label.

“We believe there is an intentional use of this that is not reported. We believe that the consumer has a right to know what he is buying, ”said Graham Peaslee, Ph.D. professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame.

Women said Channel 2 investigative reporter Sophia Choi they want to know what’s in their makeup.

“I think you should list the ingredients and let the consumer decide whether or not they want to add it to their face,” said Sherri Hodge.

“That’s why I look at the labels to see if they have certain chemicals in them, if they have certain things in them, and if it’s something that I will never put on my face, I will want to know that,” said Tonice Taylor.


The Food and Drug Administration has the power to regulate cosmetics in America and sets guidelines, but generally allows the industry to monitor itself. Bennett said the government must take action with regulations.

“I have a brand of house makeup and nobody regulates me, and I do it here in my house in my kitchen. And I, you know, sell to thousands of thousands of customers from the United States, overseas to, you know, Canada. So yeah, nobody’s regulating me, ”Bennett said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says PFAS can lead to cancer, liver damage, increased risk of asthma, thyroid disease, and fertility problems.

Notre Dame researchers said long-lasting makeup has the most PFAS.

Two items were at the top of the list.

“The waterproof mascaras and new liquid lips that paint over lipstick that last a really long time,” Peaslee said.

The CDC and the FDA are studying how much PFAS the human body can handle before it typically gets sick.

PFAS are found in many items we all use, such as non-stick pans, fast food containers, and stain and water resistant clothing and furniture. They are also used in makeup to make it last longer and spread more easily.

PFAS are called permanent chemicals because they never break down completely. The chemicals end up contaminating our soil, air and water.

Another concern is that PFAS can build up in your body, especially if you use products that contain PFAS on your skin, eyes, and mouth.

“Although a small amount, because even at this level you’re going to have a buildup in the blood very quickly,” Peaslee said.

Bennett said his clients are more aware these days of the potential dangers of what’s in their makeup. They are asking for less toxic products. However, she said that many women will still sacrifice their health for beauty, but not her.

“You don’t want to risk not being able to have a baby because, you know, you use it as a lipstick or a mascara,” Bennett said.

Unlike the United States, Europe has very strict makeup regulations. Everything is tested before being marketed. But here in the United States, it’s more of a hands-off approach, with companies doing their own testing.

Notre Dame researchers say the good news is that several makeup companies are now identifying products in their line that contain PFAS and are removing them.


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