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Notre Dame researchers find toxic chemicals in many cosmetics

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WPTA21) - University researchers say half of the make-up sold in the United States contains toxic chemicals.

The researchers purchased and tested more than 230 common cosmetic products from stores in Indiana and Michigan including Target, Bed bath and Beyond, Ulta Beauty and Sephora. They found fluorine in an alarming number of products:

  • 56% of foundations and eye products
  • 48% of lip products
  • 47% of mascaras

Fluorine is a so called PFAS, or "forever chemical." That means it doesn't break down in the environment. It can go on to contaminate water and air. Such chemicals can also build up in the body.

The researchers noted that many of the products were labeled as "long-lasting" or "wear-resistant." PFAS chemicals are often used to give water resistant qualities to materials.

The researchers expressed concern that consumers may be absorbing these chemicals when they use the cosmetics.

The research was published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters.

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Brien McElhatten

Brien McElhatten anchors the evening weekday newscasts at ABC21. He also hosts and produces the ABC21 Daily podcast.

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