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Skinome's skin care obviously without PFAS - but why do other people use them?
You will of course not find PFAS in Skinome's products, we have never used these health-hazardous substances as the risks have been known for a long time. The question is, however, why are they still found in so many products on the market? We think it is positive that these questions are now starting to be asked more and more often and no one has probably missed the recent media scrutiny of PFAS. Now most recently in a series of articles in Aftonbladet where they write about a study where researchers examined the cosmetics industry and found the substance in a number of popular products when they tested 43 common beauty products sold in Sweden. The question is, how can companies with the knowledge we have today continue to use it in their products?

What is PFAS?

PFAS is a large group of highly fluorinated, synthetically produced substances that are very difficult to break down and thus long-lived in the environment. Sometimes PFAS are therefore called "perpetual chemicals" and these are found in a number of products and have become the subject of an intense debate in Sweden. Among other things, after having contaminated drinking water via fire protection foam in Blekinge, but also after recently discovered contamination in the fishing waters in Boden. And now most recently in the review of the cosmetics business that Aftonbladet highlighted.

Why are PFAS used?

PFAS is mainly used for its water-repellent properties, in products such as fire protection foam, water-repellent clothing and frying pans. Unfortunately, PFAS are also used in cosmetic products to make them last longer and improve their water resistance. They can be found in both waterproof mascara and foundation, but also in a range of other products such as face creams, face masks, eyeliners, hair oil, shaving cream, powder, serum and eye shadows. But the benefits come with a hidden cost.

Endocrine disrupting and carcinogenic effects

PFAS can disrupt the body's hormone system, which can lead to various health problems. Exposure to PFAS has been shown to affect thyroid function, our reproduction and increase the risk of certain cancers. These effects can occur even at low exposure levels, which is common with daily use of cosmetics.

Environmental impact

The environmental impact of PFAS is just as serious. These forever chemicals do not break down naturally and therefore accumulate in water, soil and living organisms. This accumulation can have extensive effects on ecosystems and affect human health through contaminated water and food for a very long time. In December 2023, the municipal water company in Ronneby was finally sentenced, after a long legal process, by the Supreme Court to pay damages to victims who ingested PFAS via the drinking water in the municipality. A relevant question is what responsibility do the companies that today and previously used PFAS in their products have, despite the knowledge that these substances are dangerous to health?

Already knew in the 60s...

As early as the 1960s, animal studies conducted by 3M and DuPont showed that PFAS chemicals posed health risks. In the mid-1970s, 3M knew that PFAS was accumulating in Americans' blood. In the 1980s, both 3M and DuPont linked PFAS to cancer and found elevated cancer levels among their own workers.

...but only now came the decision that PFAS should be "phased out" in cosmetics

Now the European industry body Cosmetics Europe (CE), and also the Swedish KoHF (Cosmetics and Hygiene Companies' trade association), have recommended that manufacturers of cosmetic products no later than December 31, 2025 should phase out and not market cosmetic products that contain intentionally added PFAS ( 1).But they are still in many products. In the review that Aftonbladet did in November 2023, it is written that most products with PFAS in the list of contents were found by the researchers in products from the French L'Oréal group. In an email reply to the newspaper, they state that they stopped using PFAS in 2020, but despite this there are still many products for sale where PFAS substances are listed among the ingredients. The company also states that it is difficult to say how long these products will remain on the market for sale. This is another aspect and downside of the traditional skin care industry that we want to highlight where large volumes can be produced as the shelf life of the products is often several years.

Read the article in Aftonbladet here.

We obviously do not use PFAS and never have

How can substances that were already seen in the 60s to cause negative health effects in humans still be legal to use? These are questions that we wrestle with. We also have customers who contact us and ask if we have PFAS in our products. No, is the simple answer, we would never use these substances in our formulations. The big question is, how can one today, with the knowledge we have, wait until the end of 2025 to regulate PFAS use and continue to use it in their products?

This not only feels outdated, but downright irresponsible.

What do you think?