Cancer-Causing “Everlasting Chemicals” in Daily Use Can Pass Through Skin, Report Warns

A series of toxic compounds present in everyday products, such as sunscreen, lipstick and others used in personal hygiene, can pass through human skin and reach the bloodstream, a recent study revealed.

According to Stuart Harrad, one of the authors of the research, “if a person puts some of these products directly on the skin and they contain PFAS (perfluoroalkylated and polyfluoroalkylated substances, or PFAS), there is a great possibility of that pass through the skin,” reported The Washington Post.

The study was published this week on the Environment International website.

It is known that PFAS can enter the human body through contaminated food and water, and also if they are inhaled. What is new is that it has now been detected that they can also do it through the skin.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set a limit in early April on the concentration of these compounds, also known as forever chemicals (“forever chemicals”) in drinking water, after evidence was found that Chemicals present in contaminated water can pose a risk to people’s health even at minimal exposure levels.

PFAS are a class of thousands of carbon-fluorine compounds man-made for the production of grease-repellent products and coatingswater, oil and protect from heat.

Studies have indicated that these chemicals can remain in the environment for centuries.

Among the most common products that use PFAS are some lipstick and waterproof clothingbut they are also present in hundreds of household, personal care and beauty products, such as hand sanitizers that come into direct contact with human skin.

Overall, PFAS have generally been linked to various types of cancer, infertility, high cholesterol and low birth weight, as well as causing negative effects on the liver, thyroid and immune system of humans.

The new research expands on the findings of an earlier study in a single person who mixed PFOA (perfluorooctanoic acid) with sunscreen and applied it to the skin, leading to the conclusion that PFAS could be absorbed through the skin, the newspaper reported.

Using cultured human skinthe researchers examined the absorption potential of 17 eternal chemicals commonly used synthetics.

The results revealed that compounds with shorter carbon chains had higher absorption rates than those with longer chains.

According to Harrad, professor of environmental chemistry at the University of Birmingham and one of the authors of the study, it is easier for smaller chemicals to penetrate the skin barrier and then accumulate in the blood.

“This suggests that lower molecular weight (PFAS) that have been introduced as substitutes for PFOA (in some products), for example, are more easily absorbed through the skin,” he said, as quoted by the newspaper.

Perfluoro-n-pentanoic acid (PFPeA), which has five carbon chains, had almost 60% absorption from skin into blood, compared to perfluorobutane sulfonate (PFBS), which has four carbon chains, which had almost 50%.

The researchers determined that, in contrast, other nine-carbon compounds, such as perfluorononane sulfonate (PFNS), did not penetrate the bloodstream.

“The amount transferred through the skin It depends on the amount of product usedthe concentration of PFAS and the type of PFAS in the product,” Harrad explained.

“We are constantly surrounded by consumer products that, intentionally or not, contain things that we probably shouldn’t be using,” said Graham Peaslee, a physics professor at the University of Notre Dame who often tests for PFAS in everyday products. “Absorption may be greater in thin-skinned areas, such as the neck, groin and armpits,” he said.

However, Peaslee said the main source of exposure to PFAS is drinking water and he is not sure what fraction of exposure may occur through skin contact.

“We cover ourselves with these substances every day, so the long-term prognosis is that many of these substances can pass through the skin at surprising speeds,” he stressed.

Katie Pelch, an environmental health scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, was quoted as saying that “these chemicals are not metabolized by the body, so they don’t change whether they enter the body through the mouth, the digestive system or the bloodstream.”

Only eight states in the country have taken measures to restrict the presence of PFAS in personal care products.

The investigation examined five chemicals included in the EPA’s new drinking water rule.