a recent study conducted by the Environmental Working Group found that a number of beauty and skin care products contain Teflon, the brand name for a chemical called polytetrafluoroethylene or PTFE, and/or other fluorinated chemicals known as per- and polyfluoralkyl substances (PFASs).
As the study notes, “Teflon (or PTFT) [is] one of thousands of PFASs ― some of which have been linked to serious health effects including cancer, thyroid disease and reduced effectiveness of childhood vaccines.”
To find out which products contain Teflon and other chemicals in the same class, EWG searched through its Skin Deep database, which contains the ingredient lists for over 74,000 products.
The EWG scientists were able to identify 13 different PFAS chemicals in almost 200 products, including makeup, shampoo and sunscreen, from 28 brands. Of those nearly 200 products, 66 products from 15 brands (including CoverGirl and L’Oreal) contained Teflon.
PFAS chemicals are added to cosmetics for a number of reasons, including oil and water repellency. Waterproof mascaras and eyeliners, for example, are common makeup items that may use PFAS chemicals.
PFASs can also give products a different feel or “slipperiness,” and they are sometimes used in frizz-fighting hair products.