Seattle – Newly published test results show that a toxic contaminant linked to cancer known as perfluoroctonoic acid (PFOA) was found in anti-aging products from beloved brands Garnier and CoverGirl. PFOA is a contaminant of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), an ingredient used to create a smooth finish in personal care products and a non-stick surface on some pots and pans. Because of health concerns about perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) like PFOA, the Washington State Department of Ecology (Ecology) will start work on a phaseout plan for PFCs later this month.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent products created by top multinational cosmetic companies to an independent laboratory to have them tested for the presence of toxic chemicals. Samples tested of the following three anti-aging products contained PFOA:

  • L’Oréal’s Garnier Ultra-Lift Transformer Anti-age Skin Corrector
  • L’Oréal‘s Garnier Ultra-Lift Anti-Wrinkle Firming Moisturizer
  • Procter & Gamble’s CoverGirl Advanced Radiance with Olay, Age Defying Pressed Powder

The full report, ANTI-AGING SECRETS EXPOSED: Chemical Linked to Breast Cancer in Skin Care, is available online at: http://www.safecosmetics.org/PFOA-report

“Scientists have known about the health impacts of these non-stick PFC chemicals for some time. That companies continue to use PFCs in products, especially ones that women apply directly to their bodies, is extremely concerning,” said Erika Schreder, science director with the Washington Toxics Coalition.

The average American woman uses 12 personal care products a day, resulting in exposure to as many as 126 unique chemicals from personal care products alone. The combined exposure from personal care products adds to our daily exposure to hazardous chemicals from air, water, food and other consumer products. These chemicals end up in our bodies, our breast milk and our children; they contaminate drinking water and wildlife; and they build up in the food chain.

PFCs can be found in a wide range of products including stain-resistant carpeting, clothing, non-stick pans, fast food wrappers, microwave popcorn bags, and outdoor textiles. The chemicals are listed as Chemicals of Concern For Children’s Health under Washington state’s Children’s Safe Products Act. Ecology’s will begin developing a phaseout plan for PFCs later this month. The plan is scheduled to be completed in 2016 and will include recommendations for eliminating sources of the chemicals.

“None of us should have to worry that a product we put on our faces, bring into our homes, or eat off of might give us or our kids cancer. That’s why we need stronger laws that will protect public health from harmful chemicals in products. Companies shouldn’t be using chemicals we know are harmful, but it’s on the government to make sure companies do the right thing for public health,” said Schreder.

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