PFAS cosmetics studies are “springboard” for litigation

By Elizabeth Gribkoff | Environmental Health News | March 18, 2022


"Cosmetics companies could face litigation if their products are found to contain PFAS, warn attorneys, as a rash of recent lawsuits hit companies touting themselves as clean but whose products contain evidence of “forever chemicals.”

The lawsuits are a harbinger of future liabilities for the cosmetics industry, with efforts underway in the U.S. to restrict the sale of makeup made with the compounds—and even designate some PFAS as hazardous.

“You've heard those, probably in the legal field, saying for many months now that these [studies finding PFAS in cosmetics] will likely trigger a lot of litigation. And here we are—that has finally started to happen,” said Ally Cunningham, environmental attorney at Lathrop GPM, a law firm that hosted an industry webinar Wednesday. The firm says it has represented companies in some of the country’s “most publicized” PFAS cases.

Read the full article by Elizabeth Gribkoff  (Environmental Health News)

Recent PFAS lawsuits highlight vulnerabilities for cosmetics industry

PFAS, or “per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances,” are a broad class of manmade compounds added to cosmetics to make them smoother, more spreadable, and longer-lasting. They also can be present in trace amounts because of their use in manufacturing processes as coatings and lubricants—and because they’re widespread in water supplies. Some PFAS have been linked to health effects ranging from liver damage to increased rates of cardiovascular problems and certain kinds of cancer.

Last year, a team of researchers from the University of Notre Dame and other institutions tested fluorine levels—a potential indicator for PFAS—in more than 200 cosmetics, finding that about half had fluorine. When they tested 29 makeup products with higher fluorine levels for individual PFAS, they found the compounds in every product."