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A new study by researchers at the University of Toronto raises concerns that some all-day makeup looks could pose lasting harms to personal health and the environment.

A paper published in Environmental Science and Technology Letters today suggests many common cosmetic products contain a hazardous class of chemicals known as polyfluoroalkyl (PAUL’-ee-floor-oh-AL’-kill) substances – or P-FAS.

U of T earth sciences professor Miriam Diamond says P-FAS are “forever chemicals” that can contaminate drinking water for generations, and have been linked to health hazards affecting metabolism, fertility and immunity.

Prof. Diamond and her colleagues teamed up with U-S researchers to test 231 cosmetics products for high levels of fluorine, which would strongly suggest the presence of P-FAS.

The analysis found high levels of fluorine in 82 per cent of waterproof mascaras, and more than half of all lip products and other eye products.

The scientists sent 29 of these high-fluorine products for further testing, and detected at least four specific P-FAS, including some that break down into chemicals that are toxic and harmful to the environment.

Prof. Diamond says only one of the 17 Canadian products tested listed P-FAS on its ingredients, raising concerns about reporting standards in the cosmetics industry.

She’s calling on cosmetics manufacturers and retailers to stop using P-FAS.

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