Life

Does Your Makeup Have Teflon-Like Chemicals in It?

Why is there PFAS in makeup and is it bad for me?

Nowadays there are so many makeup options for us to choose from like waterproof mascara, dewy or matte foundations, smudge proof lipsticks, metallic eyeliners, and so much more. But how do companies get these products to have the perfect finish or such long lasting effects? One of the most common ways is to use chemicals like PFAS. PFAS or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances are chemicals that are often called forever chemicals because they don't naturally break down in the environment and are associated with all sorts of health issues. Keep reading to learn more about what PFAS chemicals are, why they are in makeup, and how to buy makeup without PFAS!

What is PFAS?

PFAS is a group of thousands of chemicals that are used in many consumer products as well as industrial processes. PFAS is primarily used as a stain and oil repellent or a waterproofing agent so you can find it in food packaging, camping gear, waterproof clothing, nonstick cookware, paints, and personal care products (1,6). These chemicals have been found to cause a wide variety of health issues including high cholesterol, thyroid disease, hypertension, immunosuppression, hormonal imbalances, and different types of cancers (2,3). And because the chemical composition of the different PFAS chemicals are so strong it makes them really durable and long lasting in the body and in the environment. Many studies have found PFAS in breastmilk and found that the levels of PFAS in people's bodies is steadily on the rise (4).

And besides being harmful to our health, PFAS chemicals are also highly damaging to the environment (6). Due to contamination from industrial processes and consumer products, PFAS contaminated drinking water is a major concern. The average water treatment plant is unable to remove the PFAS from the water, allowing these chemicals to continue to pollute our waterways (5). But water isn't all that gets polluted. Our soil is also heavily impacted by PFAS contamination as well. Most of the contamination comes from farmlands reusing the sludge and water that comes from wastewater treatment plants that contain PFAS, which then infiltrates the soil and disturbs microbes and bacteria causing the soil to deteriorate (5). This can negatively affect the food currently growing in the soil and cause issues for growing food in the future as more of the soil deteriorates (5).

Clearly PFAS is bad for our health and the environment, so why is it put in our makeup?

PFAS in makeup

The makeup that you are most likely to find PFAS in is foundation, concealer, lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara. The reason it's in these products is because PFAS chemicals are great emulsifiers which keeps the products mixed together, stabilizers that prevent the product from breaking down, viscosity regulators that help change the texture of a product, and a great waterproofing agent (7). And in makeup these properties help to make a product smooth and conditioning for the skin, make it appear shiny, make it waterproof, and create a smoother texture for the product (8).

Ever since the 1950's, when PFAS was first created, the health and environmental effects of PFAS have been researched and more research comes out everyday as more PFAS like chemicals are created. On the other hand PFAS in makeup and how that affects our health still needs to be looked into more (9). Research has shown that products like lipstick and lipgloss that contain PFAS are much more likely to enter into the bloodstream compared to products like foundation because lipstick and lipgloss are so easy to accidentally ingest (7). There has also been evidence that putting cosmetic products containing PFAS around the eye area, where the skin is much thinner than the rest of the face, has a higher rate of absorption into the bloodstream (7,10,11). This means products like concealer, eyeliner, and mascara.

These studies show that there is some correlation between using cosmetics with PFAS and having PFAS within your body. And although not all products seem to pose a danger to our health, you have to remember that we might be ingesting and being exposed to PFAS in many other ways than just our makeup. PFAS is all around us in our drinking water, food packaging, clothes, household items, and more. So it may not seem like a big deal that a few of your makeup products have PFAS in them but the more PFAS builds up in your body the more risk there are for health issues associated with PFAS.

And if you thought PFAS in makeup wasn't a big enough issue, another concern is that not all brands are being transparent about it. A recent study found that many US cosmetic products contained PFAS and many of them did not disclaim it on the label. This means that cosmetic companies are purposely hiding the fact that they use PFAS in their products. This study also discussed that this issue is widespread throughout the entire cosmetics industry from drugstore makeup to high end brands (15,16). So now the real question is, how do we stay away from makeup with PFAS in it?

How to find makeup without PFAS

Finding PFAS free products can be difficult especially if the brand isn't upfront about it, but the first thing to do is check the ingredients list and look for any ingredients that have the word "fluoro" in it, that's usually a pretty good indication that there is some type of PFAS chemical in the product! You can also check EWG Skin Deep to see if your product is listed on the database and if it has PFAS in it!

Since you can't be sure if the ingredients list is accurate or not, another option is try natural or clean makeup brands. Often these brands have fewer chemical additives in them and ingredients are screened for potential health effects. Some clean beauty retailers are Sephora Clean, Target Clean, Credo Beauty, Follian, and Detox Market. And other stores like Walmart, Target, Rite Aid, CVS, Walgreens, and Amazon have all started to take action by looking for toxic chemicals in their beauty products (16). If you want to check out how some of your favorite stores handle toxic chemicals and their retailer report card, check out this link!

What Else Can You Do to Get PFAS out of Makeup?

Besides buying PFAS-free products and making choices with your money, another great thing to do is get involved in changing the policies around makeup. Right now there is very little legislation out there that tests for the safety of chemicals that are added to cosmetics. Only two states currently have regulations on PFAS in cosmetics, California and Maryland. A few other states have bills in the works but it could be years before they are passed (13). Compared to other places like the EU and Denmark, the US is very far behind when it comes to regulating PFAS (11,14). So by voting with your dollar, signing petitions, talking about the issue with your friends, and even emailing companies about your concerns, you have the power to try and shift the entire cosmetics industry to be cleaner and safer. Many companies have made the choice to make safer products for their customers, but there are still far too many companies who will not make that choice unless required to by better policies. If you want to read more about clean beauty legislation and how you can get involved in the issue, check out this article!

At the moment, there are hundreds of studies on the health impacts of PFAS chemicals. By limiting the number of interactions and exposures we have with PFAS the better! One easy way to do this is by getting rid of all of your makeup that contains PFAS. Getting new makeup is a blast and what could be better than supporting brands that care about your health and the health of the planet!


Sources

    1. Schultes, L., Vestergren, R., Volkova, K., Westberg, E., Jacobson, T., & P. Benskin, J. (2018). Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances and fluorine mass balance in cosmetic products from the Swedish market: Implications for environmental emissions and human exposure. Environmental Science: Processes & Impacts, 20(12), 1680–1690. https://doi.org/10.1039/C8EM00368H
    2. Sunderland, E. M., Hu, X. C., Dassuncao, C., Tokranov, A. K., Wagner, C. C., & Allen, J. G. (2019). A review of the pathways of human exposure to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and present understanding of health effects. Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, 29(2), 131–147. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41370-018-0094-1
    3. Bell, E. M., De Guise, S., McCutcheon, J. R., Lei, Y., Levin, M., Li, B., Rusling, J. F., Lawrence, D. A., Cavallari, J. M., O'Connell, C., Javidi, B., Wang, X., & Ryu, H. (2021). Exposure, health effects, sensing, and remediation of the emerging PFAS contaminants – Scientific challenges and potential research directions. Science of The Total Environment, 780, 146399. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2021.146399
    4. Zheng, G., Schreder, E., Dempsey, J. C., Uding, N., Chu, V., Andres, G., Sathyanarayana, S., & Salamova, A. (2021). Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in Breast Milk: Concerning Trends for Current-Use PFAS. Environmental Science & Technology. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06978
    5. Abunada, Z., Alazaiza, M. Y. D., & Bashir, M. J. K. (2020). An Overview of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment: Source, Fate, Risk and Regulations. Water, 12(12), 3590. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123590
    6. Abunada, Z., Alazaiza, M. Y. D., & Bashir, M. J. K. (2020). An Overview of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) in the Environment: Source, Fate, Risk and Regulations. Water, 12(12), 3590. https://doi.org/10.3390/w12123590
    7. Thépaut, E., Dirven, H. A. A. M., Haug, L. S., Lindeman, B., Poothong, S., Andreassen, M., Hjertholm, H., & Husøy, T. (2021). Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in serum and associations with food consumption and use of personal care products in the Norwegian biomonitoring study from the EU project EuroMix. Environmental Research, 195, 110795. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2021.110795
    8. https://www.fda.gov/cosmetics/cosmetic-ingredients/and-polyfluoroalkyl-substances-pfas-cosmetics#:~:text=Per%2D%20and%20polyfluoroalkyl%20substances%20
    9. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/pfas/health-effects/overview.html
    10. https://www.huffpost.com/entry/teflon-in-beauty-products_n_5ab2b16be4b0decad04661b6
    11. Risk assessment of fluorinated substances in cosmetic products. (2018). Danish Environmental Protection Agency.
    12. https://safemakeupproject.com/natural-makeup/are-the-best-drugstore-makeup-products-safe/
    13. https://www.saferstates.org/toxic-chemicals/cleaning-cosmetics-and-construction/
    14. https://ec.europa.eu/environment/pdf/chemicals/2020/10/SWD_PFAS.pdf
    15. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/10.1021/acs.estlett.1c00240
    16. https://www.cnn.com/2021/06/15/health/makeup-toxic-chemicals-wellness/index.html
  • Roundups

    14 Essentials for Packing a Plastic Free Lunch

    our favorite reusable items for packing lunch for the kids (and yourself!)

    As many of us are headed back to the office, it's time to get ready to start getting creative when it comes to packing lunches. Getting takeout for lunch every now and then is great, but it's expensive and there's just so much trash generated! Packing lunch is great for your wallet and for the planet, especially if you invest in some plastic free lunch packing essentials. While plastic sandwich bags and plastic containers may be convenient, they aren't the healthiest and are only adding to the plastic problem in our oceans. Instead, stock up on some of these reusable lunchbox essentials made from stainless steel, glass, wax, silicone, and cotton. Whether you're packing leftovers, a simple sandwich, or a salad, we've got you covered. Our plastic free lunch packing essentials are reusable, washable, and healthier than a bag full of plastic containers. We also have a roundup of general food storage containers you might want to check out.

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    Roundups

    Healthier Food Storage Containers

    Plastic free jars, boxes, and wraps!

    Updated for 2022!

    We scoured the internet finding an assortment of safer and healthier ways to keep your leftovers and meal prep ingredients fresh. All of these options are sustainable, have many glowing reviews, and are easily available. We also have a roundup more specifically for packing lunch you might also want to check out too!

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    Life

    Your Summer Guide to Water Safety

    How to Promote Fun and Prevent Drowning

    Summer has arrived! Cue the backyard BBQs, ice cream sandwiches (or DIY popsicles), and Will Smith jams. During long, hot days, water activities are basically a necessity for creating fun memories and staying cool. Unfortunately, water-related accidents are a leading cause of injury and death for young children (4). So to keep things fun this summer, let's talk about drowning prevention.

    Drowning happens in seconds and often quietly (1,3). Permanent disability can result even when drowning isn't fatal (3), since any prolonged oxygen disruption injures our brains. Though it can happen to anyone, drowning is the second most common cause of death for 1-4 year olds (3). Almost 90% of these incidents occur in home pools and hot tubs5,6 (and anything that collects water, even buckets, poses a risk) (3). To keep the children in your life safe and cool, here are 5 water safety tips as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics, CDC, National Safety Council, Pool Safely, and Red Cross.

    1. Kids' water activities require close supervision at all times

    Most drowning incidents occur unsupervised when adults briefly step away or become distracted (4). For this reason, children need vigilant supervision by a designated adult whenever they're around water (4). We can appreciate a relaxing poolside novel or margarita, but the responsible adult/Water Watcher (7) needs to be completely free of alcohol impairment and any distractions (not even Insta). Consider water supervision to be like your greatest Netflix binge – your attention is totally focused, and you don't want to miss a thing. For young children the guiding principle is "touch supervision"– being within arm's reach at all times (3). 5-9 year olds are more likely to drown at public pools (4), so designate a supervising adult even when lifeguards are present (3).

    2. Modest safety measures make a massive difference

    Physical safety measures are imperative, especially when delightfully curious and unintentionally stealthy toddlers attempt to swim without you! Installing the right type of fence can reduce drowning risk by over 80% – 4-sided pool fences (completely isolating the pool) are far more effective than 3-sided property line fences (3). The safest fences measure at least 4 feet high, prevent climbing, and have self-latching, self-closing gates (3,7). Door alarms and rigid pool covers are also preventive, though their effectiveness is less studied (1). Always check that the pool you use has intact anti-entrapment drain covers (mandated by federal law) to prevent suction-related accidents (7). For portable pools, check out this specific safety guidance.

    3. Life jackets are way better than floaties

    Sadly those super cute floaty wings aren't designed for safety, according to the CDC, and should not replace life jackets (3) (on the upside, this means less flimsy plastic!). Young children and inexperienced swimmers should wear a U.S. Coast Guard-approved life jacketwhenever near water (1,9). And, regardless of swimming ability, all children need USCG-approved life jackets if playing around lakes or the ocean (2). Life jackets are only effective if they fit well, so check the weight and size limits before using (9). Remember that nothing replaces close supervision! (To help start your life jacket search, we tracked down a more eco-friendly option.)

    4. Teach children swimming and water safety

    Learning to swim is crucial for water safety. We all benefit from learning how to swim, and swimming lessons can prevent drowning in 1-4 year olds (3). It's never too early (or too late!) to learn – YMCA and community centers often provide affordable lessons for all ages. (We get that communal activities are probably not your jam with the current Covid-19 situation, but, at some point, formal swim lessons could be a fun family activity.) Knowing how to swim does not make us "drown proof" though, so we still need to exercise caution with kids of any swimming ability (1). Teaching children not to climb over pool fences, swim without an adult, or play near pool drains is also crucial for preventing drowning incidents (7).

    5. Assess surroundings and swimming ability

    Being aware of location-specific water dangers and knowing a swimmer's ability can help discern which activities are safe. Every water activity presents an assortment of fun and risk. Case in point: sprinklers are a simple joy but also an understated toe hazard (been there…). Oceans, rivers, and lakes offer wilder adventure yet can even prove dangerous for expert swimmers – rip currents are an infamous threat in oceans, and lakes and rivers can have undertows (6). Older children and adolescents are more likely to drown in these natural bodies of water (3). Since alcohol can impair your ability to assess surroundings and react appropriately, avoid drinking while swimming or supervising others (7).

    Prevention first, but CPR can still save lives

    We hope you'll never ever need to use CPR...ever. Prevention with the above measures can massively reduce drowning risk for everyone, but CPR is invaluable during a drowning incident and can improve the likelihood of the drowning victim's survival (3). The American Heart Association provides in-person Family and Friends CPR courses, as well as socially distanced, at-home instruction with Family and Friends CPR DVD or Adult/Child CPR training kits (includes a training manikin and DVD – fun for the whole family!).

    With safe water play, we know your summer days will be full of adventure and excitement. Have fun!


    References

    1. https://www.aappublications.org/news/2019/03/15/drowning031519

    2. https://www.cdc.gov/safechild/drowning/

    3. https://www.cdc.gov/HomeandRecreationalSafety/Water-Safety/waterinjuries-factsheet.html

    4. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/2020-Submersion-Report-4-29-20.pdf

    5. https://www.cpsc.gov/s3fs-public/pdfs/blk_media_SafetyBarrierGuidelinesResPools.pdf

    6. https://www.nsc.org/home-safety/tools-resources/seasonal-safety/drowning

    7. https://www.poolsafely.gov/parents/safety-tips/

    8.https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/drowning-prevention-and-facts.html

    9.https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/types-of-emergencies/water-safety/swim-safety.html

    Roundups

    Plastic-Free (and Melamine-Free!) Outdoor Tableware

    They won't break, look great, and are sure to be perfect for you outdoor gatherings

    Updated for Summer 2022!

    Getting ready for some outdoor parties and dining this summer? We sure are! If you're looking to spruce up your outdoor dining scene, you'll quickly see that most options are made of melamine. Even though melamine dishware doesn't look like plastic, melamine can leach into food after dishes are repeatedly microwaved or used to hold both hot and acidic foods (read this to learn why you might want to skip the melamine). So if melamine is out, and easy to break options like ceramic just don't work for you (children being children, slippery surfaces, clumsy grownups!), check out these stainless steel, enamelware, wood, and tempered glass options. Although we always recommend reusable, we included one disposable option too (without PFAS chemicals). These are our top picks for plastic-free outdoor dishware, serving bowls and platters, tumblers, and more. They are all light weight, hard to break, and will make your outdoor entertaining photos look on point. So pick up some of these plastic-free and melamine-free outdoor dishes and enjoy dining al fresco!

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    Food

    4 Recipes for Batch Summer Drinks that You Can Spike AND that are Kid-Friendly

    Ditch single use plastic and canned drinks at your next party

    Summer is basically one big outdoor party. Anyone else wishing it will never end? With all of the heat, it's important to have icy beverages that everyone can enjoy. While it's easy to just load up with flats of canned cocktails or plastic bottles of flavored sparkling water, making a big batch of easy, tasty drinks is more budget friendly and planet friendly! Here are 4 of our favorite drink recipes meant for big containers, so you can quickly prepare them in advance and just set up a glass beverage dispenser as people start to arrive. Kids will love these fruity drinks and so will adults, especially if you add a splash of alcohol into your cup (we won't tell!). Plus you'll be skipping out on single use plastic bottles and BPA-lined aluminum cans. Try out one of these recipes at your next summer BBQ or event!


    Spiked Lemonade

    -1 gallon of water

    -3 cups lemon juice

    -3.5 cups white sugar

    -Fruit like peach, blueberries, blackberries, mint, etc

    -4 cups vodka or 1 shot per glass if adding vodka after pouring

    Instructions

    1. Stir the sugar into the water until it's completely dissolved.
    2. Mix in the lemon juice, fruit, and optional vodka. Serve over ice.

    Fruit Punch

    -8 cups ginger ale

    -4 cups orange juice

    -4 cups pineapple juice

    -sliced fruit like orange

    -Optional: 2 cups rum

    Instructions

    1. Combine all ingredients and serve over ice

    Watermelon Refresher

    -8 cups seedless watermelon, cubed

    -2 cups water

    -2 cups ginger ale

    -2 cups lime juice

    -4 cups gin or vodka or 1 shot per glass if adding after pouring

    Instructions

    1. Blend watermelon in a blender until pulverized. If you want a completely smooth consistency without pulp, strain the blended watermelon through a sieve.
    2. Combine all ingredients, including pulverized watermelon, and serve over ice.

    Hibiscus Watermelon Cooler

    8 cups water

    8 hibiscus tea bags

    8 cups watermelon juice (puree watermelon in blender)

    ½ cup honey

    1 cup lime juice

    4 cups tequila or 1 shot per glass if adding after pouring

    Instructions

    1. Add the teabags to the water and let steep for 5-10 minutes
    2. Remove the teabags and add the rest of the ingredients
    3. Serve over ice

    As much as we'd like to be the type of person who wakes up early, grabs some buckets and a sponge at home, and spends a few hours giving their car a DIY wash, we often find ourselves pulling into a car wash business instead. It's easy to feel guilty about taking the "convenient" route but in this case you don't have to! It's actually better for the environment to get a professional car wash rather than DIY! We break down the benefits of an automatic car wash below.

    Whether you have a brand new car or your car has been with you for a decade and a few hundred thousand miles, chances are you want to take care of it. In addition to regular oil changes and tune ups, you need to give it a good cleaning. Washing your car isn't just for looks. Over time your car accumulates dirt, oil, salt, and other grime. As well as being an eyesore, this debris can damage the performance of your car. Since we want to drive our car for as long as possible, washing it should be part of your normal car maintenance routine! But before you run to grab your hose and bucket- you might want to consider heading to your local car wash.

    It's common to think that going to the car wash is worse for the environment and too water intensive, when actually, the opposite is true. Car wash businesses use high powered nozzles to use as little water as efficiently as possible, and many businesses also have a system in place to catch and reuse old water (1). When you wash your car yourself, you probably just use a bucket filled with water and a hose. While your water usage may not seem that bad while you're washing, it adds up fast. Individuals can use between 80 to 140 gallons of water to wash their car, but a car wash business only uses about 30 to 45 gallons of water (2)! Many car washes also recycle the water used, so the water can be used many times. Some states even require car washes to use recycled water; in California, car washes must use at least 60% recycled water (4). During one particularly tough drought season, a city in California went so far as to ban using potable water for at-home car washes and required car owners to go to a car wash to clean their car (5). If you are concerned about wasting water, ask your local car wash if they recycle water and try to go to one that does!

    Another reason to consider using a professional car wash business is wastewater. When we wash our cars at home, we're usually in a concrete driveway or on the side of the road and let the water run down to the sidewalk drains. But that water contains dirt, oil, heavy metals, and other harmful chemicals that accumulate during normal driving, and those sidewalk drains don't go to a water treatment plant. Instead, that runoff is usually diverted directly into our watershed, which might to a lake, stream, or ocean and negatively impact aquatic wildlife and water quality (3). Professional car wash businesses are required by the Environmental Protection Agency to capture all wastewater and divert it into a sewage system. That means the water is safely processed through a water treatment facility and can be used for future car washes!

    If you really want to wash your car at home, there are more eco-friendly options.

    1. Look for cleaners that are biodegradable and phosphate-free, to minimize the potential for water contamination (3).

    2. Make sure to dispose of any dirty water leftover in the buckets by dumping it down your sink, toilet, or bathtub instead of pouring it down your driveway.

    3. Washing your car on an overcast, mild day can help save water, since it won't evaporate as quickly.

    4. Use reusable cloths to wash and dry your car.


    References

    1. https://www.treehugger.com/eco-friendly-car-wash-4863509
    2. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/top-10-water-wasters/
    3. https://cfpub.epa.gov/npstbx/files/KSMO_CarWashing.pdf
    4. https://www.carwash.com/law-requiring-carwashes-to-recycle-water-passed-in-ca/
    5. https://www.marketplace.org/2015/06/09/one-california-drought-winner-local-car-wash/

    Now that you've invested in some glass and stainless steel food storage containers, maybe you're wondering if you should Marie Kondo all the plastic ones you used to use? Instead adding them to the landfill, what if we told you that all those plastic containers can help you achieve a new level of organization zen? While we don't recommend storing food in them anymore (for those of you who haven't heard: these plastic food storage containers often have BPA or phthalates in them, which can leach into your food over time and cause all sorts of health problems), we also don't think you have to throw them away.

    So, what can you do? We have 6 great suggestions for you to repurpose those containers throughout your home.



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