PFAS Chemicals Detected in Common Bandages: Implications for Consumer Health

Many commonly used bandages contain PFAS chemicals, according to a recent investigation conducted by Environmental Health News (EHN) and Mamavation. Of the 40 bandages analyzed, 65% showed signs of PFAS chemicals, also known as “forever chemicals” due to their persistent nature in the environment. PFAS, with over 12,000 types, have been linked to various health risks by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including certain cancers, reproductive issues, developmental delays, hormonal disruption, and more.

Mamavation and EHN regularly test various products for PFAS presence, using organic fluorine detection as an indicator. In this analysis, 40 bandage products were selected from various brands and tested for fluorine levels exceeding 10 parts per million (ppm) in both absorbent pads and adhesive flaps.

The study found that 26 bandages had fluorine levels ranging from 10 to 374 ppm. Among those designed for people of color, 10 out of 16 fell within this contamination range. Variability in fluorine levels was observed even within the same brand, with products from CVS Health and BAND-AID displaying varying contamination levels.

Notable findings included BAND-AID OURTONE Flexible Fabric BR65 Bandages with the highest contamination levels and BAND-AID Water Block Tough Strips and CVS Gentle Fabric Hypoallergenic Bandages with lower levels. Smaller brands like Patch Bamboo Bandages for Kids With Coconut Oil and TRU COLOR Skin Tone Bandages showed no detectable fluorine.

The study suggests that PFAS exposure can occur through direct contact with the skin via adhesive flaps, with potential accumulation in various body tissues. Despite efforts to regulate PFAS, including tightened EPA limits and state-level legislation, these chemicals remain widespread in the environment, posing challenges for mitigation.

Consumers are advised to remain vigilant about PFAS exposure in various consumer products, including bandages, while broader regulatory efforts continue to address this persistent environmental and health concern.

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