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POPFREE focus area: Cosmetics

Background

The awareness of the presence of PFAS in cosmetics has recently increased and several brands and suppliers have started to phase out these chemicals. Studying content of a number of consumer products, have revealed that PFAS can be present in, for example, lip liner, eye shadow, concealer or foundation. The content screening was also made based on the European cosmetic ingredient database CosIng, which lists about a hundred PFAS. Where PFAS such as perfluorodecalin or perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane have been intentionally added as ingredients, this occurred in small quantities. In some cases, PFAS come from ingredients purchased from suppliers higher up in the value chain.

The intentions of adding PFAS in those cases are still unknown and as of today, it is not clear whether PFAS actually, have a defined function in the final formulation of the product or if they are just a contamination from an earlier part of the manufacturing process. This question is even more relevant as several brands have in their range of products both PFAS-free and PFAS containing alternatives within the same product category. When PFAS have been added intentionally, the reason has been to get a formulation with properties as for example improved adhesion to skin, silky feeling and better fastness to perspiration. Several organizations and distributors still claim that PFAS are not used in cosmetics.

Challenges

  • Identification and evaluation of relevant alternatives to PFAS based on dialog with industrial actors from other branches.
  • Establishment of a list of requirements for the suppliers of base formulation and ingredients based on current and upcoming legislation as well as health and environmental assessment.
  • Communication towards consumers to help them select PFAS-free products.
     

Suggested scope

In the project, focus will be placed on communication with customers as well as with suppliers. Communication with customers will be important to help them choose PFAS-free products. On the supplier’s side, it is important to educate and set up relevant requirements on the base formulation to ensure that no PFAS are used. Partners will also work with substitution work on their products and identification of relevant alternatives. For that purpose, a transdisciplinary dialog with other branches can be highly valuable.

Partners

In the case of cosmetics, the project consists of partners representing retailers as well as environmental organization.