Makeup that lasts all day could be harmful to health and the environment, study finds

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A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto raises concerns that certain all-day makeup looks could cause lasting damage to personal health and the environment.

An article published today in Environmental Science and Technology Letters suggests that many common cosmetic products contain a dangerous class of chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyls (PAUL’-ee-floor-oh-AL’-kill) – or P-FAS.

Miriam Diamond, professor of earth sciences at the University of Toronto, says P-FAS are “eternal chemicals” that can contaminate drinking water for generations and have been linked to health risks affecting metabolism, fertility and immunity.

Professor Diamond and his colleagues teamed up with US researchers to test 231 cosmetics for high levels of fluoride, which would strongly suggest the presence of P-FAS.

Analysis found high levels of fluoride in 82% of water-repellent mascaras and more than half of all lip and other eye products.

Scientists sent 29 of these high-fluorine products for further testing and detected at least four specific P-FASs, some of which break down into toxic and environmentally harmful chemicals.

Professor Diamond says that only one of 17 Canadian products tested lists P-FAS on its ingredients, raising concerns about reporting standards in the cosmetics industry.

She calls on cosmetics manufacturers and retailers to stop using P-FAS.

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