Forever Chemicals, Bandage, Band-aid

New Study Finds ‘Forever Chemicals’ In Major Bandage Brands Like Band-Aid, Curad, Up & Up

The study reported PFAS, which can last for years or decades in the body, have been linked to developmental issues, cancers, fertility issues.

A new study has uncovered signs that “forever chemicals” may be lurking in adhesive bandages from major brands like Band-Aid and Curad and offerings from retail giants CVS, Walmart, and Target.

According to the report published on Mamavation, 26 bandages were found to have detectable levels of organic fluorine, an indicator of the group of chemicals known as PFAS. The levels ranged from 11 parts per million to 328 ppm, with 10 out of 16 bandages with black and brown skin tones showing signs of PFAS contamination.

The advocacy blog unveiled the study’s findings in collaboration with Environmental Health Sciences, which had samples tested at an Environmental Protection Agency-certified laboratory.

Linda S. Birnbaum, a scientist emeritus and former National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program director, expressed concern over the findings. “Because bandages are placed upon open wounds, it’s troubling to learn that they may be also exposing children and adults to PFAS,” she said. “It’s obvious from the data that PFAS are not needed for wound care, so it’s important that the industry remove their presence to protect the public from PFAS and opt instead for PFAS-free materials.”

PFAS, or per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are known as “forever chemicals” due to their persistence in the environment. Many of these chemicals can last in the body for years or decades and have been linked to reduced immunity, developmental issues in children, certain cancers, fertility problems, hormone disruption, and more. The report supports mounting evidence of PFAS contamination across consumer goods like athletic wear, bedding, car seats, children’s clothing, food packaging, period underwear, tampons, dental floss, cookware, carpeting, and flooring.

In 2023, BLACK ENTERPRISE covered a study funded by the state of Washington that called attention to toxic chemicals inside cosmetics, findings that could be troublesome for women of color. The report noted products containing lead and arsenic that have been banned in Europe, like CoverGirl’s foundation. States like Minnesota and California have already banned substances containing the chemical PFAS.

While some bandages, including those from 3M and FEBU, were found to be free of organic fluorine and other harmful compounds, the report highlights the need for companies to phase out the use of PFAS in their products. 3M, known for products like Sticky Notes, has announced plans to discontinue using all PFAS by the end of 2025.

Tru Colour, a brand offering a diverse range of skin-toned bandages co-owned by a team including renowned orthopedic hand surgeon Dr. Raymond Wurapa and Chief of Digital Marketing Ryan Tolbert, was also found to be free of organic fluorine and other harmful compounds.