The Lowdown on PFAS
What is PFAS?
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, aka PFAS refers to a wide range of manmade chemicals composed of up to 9,000 different compounds that have existed since the 1940s. PFAS are used to make fluoropolymer coating and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.
Where is PFAS?
PFAS are used in a range of consumer and industrial products. Household items such as nonstick cookware, paints and sealants, waterproof clothing, and carpets. In the beauty industry, PFAS are sometimes intentionally added to products such as lotions, cleansers, foundations, lipstick, and shampoos.
The intended purposes are:
- To achieve the desired consistency for the product
- Making the product waterproof
- To smooth the skin, thus giving it a glow
Why is PFAS Bad?
PFAS are not bio-degradable and also accumulate in the human body, soils, and water making it a health risk for consumers and the environment.
The CDC/ATSDR has linked PFAS to numerous health risks, including severe kidney, liver, immunological, developmental, and reproductive issues. Issues such as increased cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, or pre-eclampsia in pregnant women, as well as increased risk of kidney or testicular cancer and decrease in the immune system functions in children.
Another reason that PFAS is bad is due to the fact that there are so many chemicals that makeup PFAS that it can be impossible to spot it in the ingredients list of beauty products. This is especially true when reading the ingredients list of chemical filler products where it is just endless lines of hard-to-pronounce chemicals.
How Can I be Exposed?
Unfortunately, exposure to PFAS happens daily. You can be exposed to PFAS by drinking contaminated water, consuming seafood caught from water contaminated by PFAS, consuming food packaged in materials that contain PFAS, and using stain resist carpeting and water-resistant clothing, which usually have PFAS.
With beauty and personal care products, it is essential to navigating the ingredients list to spot PFAS. The labels of cosmetics and skin products write the ingredients in order of predominance and concentration.
Some common PFAS used as ingredients in personal care is PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene), perfluorooctyl triethoxysilane, perfluorononyl dimethicone, perfluorodecalin, and perfluorohexane.
Dimethicone is a silicone-based polymer made in a lab and commonly used ingredient that can be found in numerous drugstore personal care products. From Chapstick lip balms to Vaseline ointments, the ingredient is often dubbed as an active ingredient - a skin protectant. It gives products high spreadability and emulsifies ingredients - the "slip" and "glide" components and gives the appearance of smooth and glowing skin.
PFAS are Everywhere, How do I Avoid Them?
PFAS are seemingly everywhere and each state is working on its own regulations for PFAS. As consumers, we give brands and companies the power when we spend and give them our money - what we can do is educate ourselves to avoid such purchases, taking our power back.
Multinational companies such as IKEA, H&M, as well as Crate & Barrel are already eliminating certain PFAS from their product lines. Food chains like Chipotle and Taco Bell have pledged the same for their fast food packaging, notorious for containing PFAS.
PFAS at Oil Divine
PFAS and other synthetic ingredients and materials have no room at Oil Divine. Oil Divine is a beauty brand, but inspired by a holistic, eco-conscious, and toxin-free lifestyle approach.
We take great pride in formulating our products without any synthetic ingredients, fragrances, and chemicals. We are proud to be 16-free, and here you will find the list of all the toxins and unnecessary things we are formulated without. Each bottle of our products is formulated with ethically sourced, plant-based ingredients from around the world for the utmost potency.
If you are ever curious, just read our ingredients list and you will discover all the botanical goodness you are putting on your skin and hair daily.