PFAS : The Reason Behind the Proposed Personal Care Products Safety Act

A new study conducted by researchers of the University of Notre Dame in Indiana tested 231 personal care products and found that almost half contained PFAS. The term PFAS stands for Perfluoroalkyl and Polyfluoroalkyl Substancesl which are groups of complex chemical formulations used in the manufacture of various consumer goods. The assortment of which ranges from cleaning materials, cosmetics, personal products to non-stick, stain-repelling and water-repellent coatings. Inasmuch as most of the PFAS discovered were found in personal care products, a new law called The Personal Care Products Safety Act is currently being proposed in Congress.

PFAS, as further studies revealed, have been proven to have links to several cases of impaired immune systems. They have also caused damages and harm to reproductive systems and poor child development. At the same time PFAS haves increased risks of promoting the growth and spread of certain cancerous cells.

What Does the Proposed The Personal Care Products Safety Act Aim to Accomplish?

In 2015, Democratic California Senator Diane Feinstein together with Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins had introduced a bill that aims to broaden the powers and responsibility of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The proposed bill captioned as The Personal Care Products Safety Act (PCPSA) was revived for senate hearings in 2021, whilst containing more specific details on how the FDA should regulate manufacturers and sellers on the production and sale of personal care and cosmetic products; particularly those found using complex chemicals identified as belonging to the PFAS group.

The Act will task the FDA to assess and analyze the ingredients of every new product that makes its way into consumer markets. At the same time, it will prescribe clear guidance on whether the questionable ingredients should be discontinued or if it becomes necessary to issue consumer warnings about the use of a specific product.

Moreover, the FDA will have the authority to initiate the recall of products found to cause significant harm and damage to the well being of consumers. Apparently and up to this day, the FDA still lacks the authority to recall such products that some manufacturers do not voluntarily remove their products from grocery shelves.

That is why consumer websites, specifically focuses on providing information about self-care products, specially those promising extraordinary results. In the meantime, it would be best to check the list of ingredients mentioned as components of the product and take note of any FPAS included as ingredients.

Most Common Examples of PFAS Used in Personal Care Products

Below are some of the most common examples of PFAS used by a broad group of manufacturers of personal care items.

Triclosan used as potent ingredients of anti-microbial soaps and fragrances. This PFAS has been proven to have caused endocrine (hormonal) disruptions that increase risks of failed reproduction and carcinogenic effects. It’s also faulted for permitting bioaccumulation that causes aquatic toxicity.

Triclocarban – Identified as an antimicrobial ingredient in lotions, soaps, body washes, wipes and other sanitizing products. Aside from being an endocrine disruptor and carcinogenic substance, this PFAS can also increase risks of weight loss and abortion.

Phenol– This chemical ingredient has been found in some brands of soaps and lotions. However, independent reviews of this PFAS revealed that it is mutagenic, carcinogenic and corrosive to the skin. It’s regarded as one of the most harmful PFAS because the chemicals have been linked to cases of organ collapse.