Following an investigation into some of the most popular bathroom and cosmetic staples, MCS has identified many which contain invisible ‘forever chemicals’ PFAS, which remain in the marine environment for many years and can have a detrimental impacts on the ocean and the animals within it.
PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are fluorinated chemicals which remain in the environment without breaking down for many years; they are highly polluting and extremely difficult, if not impossible, to remove once they enter the environment.
PFAS chemicals can be found in:
MCS is concerned about PFAS presence in cosmetics and bathroom staples due to their direct pathway into water sources and eventually the ocean. PFAS also currently escape classic wastewater treatment systems because, amongst other reasons, they remain dissolved and therefore are difficult to filter out like solids.
Organisations including MCS are working to demystify PFAS chemicals and to introduce better legislation in manufacturing. CHEM Trust is advocating for a ‘grouping’ approach in chemical regulation, allowing regulation of the entire group of PFAS to accelerate the phasing out of the chemicals in products. Environmental charity Fidra is conducting a study looking at the use of PFAS in UK food packaging. Fidra is calling for UK supermarkets to follow the example set by Denmark and take a lead in removing these harmful chemicals from our food shelves, setting the stage for wider legislative change. The use of PFAS chemicals in manufacturing is so prolific that improved legislation would likely have the most impact on stemming the flow of PFAS chemicals into the environment.