The world’s biggest cosmetics brands say NO to PFCs

News 2018 / July

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The world’s biggest cosmetics brands say NO to PFCs

A year ago, the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation started an internet campaign called Surfejs aiming to remove perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) from cosmetics.

More than 1,500 consumers sent e-mails to eight of the biggest cosmetics producers in the world, encouraging them to remove PFCs from their products.

Until recently, five of these companies had announced that they would begin phasing out these toxic chemicals as soon as possible. Now, another company has announced that they will do the same thing.

This company is L’Oréal – the biggest cosmetics producer in the world.

“It means a lot when companies are responsible and go beyond the flawed legislation”

“We are very happy with this amazing result”, says Karin Lexén, General Secretary of the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation. “It means a lot when companies are responsible and go beyond the flawed legislation”.

Perfluorinated chemicals is a group of more than 4,700 man-made substances created to repel grease, dirt and water. They are found everywhere in society, for example, in products such as make-up, clothes and frying pans.

But they are, however, associated with cancer, liver damage, immune system effects and other severe harm to people who are exposed to them. They are also very mobile and persistent in the environment, causing them to accumulate in fish and other wildlife – including humans.

Nine of these perfluorinated chemicals are on the Candidate List. But only one (PFOS) is restricted, with an additional one (PFOA) set to be restricted by 2020.

“We hope that the actions of these companies will inspire more companies to do the same”

Karin Lexén would like to see an EU restriction for PFCs in all consumer products, but until then she encourages companies to be progressive and phase out PFCs themselves.

“We hope that the actions of these companies will inspire more companies to do the same”.

The first brands to adhere to the internet campaign were H&M and Lumene, who in December last year announced that they were going to restrict PFCs in their cosmetics. This spring The Body Shop, Isadora and Kicks followed in their tracks.

“We are pleased that many of these large cosmetics producers have committed to phasing out PFCs, and hope that this will be a wake-up call for the whole cosmetics industry”, comments Frida Hök, Senior Policy Advisor at ChemSec.