Statement by Alexandra Kowcz, Chief Scientist, Personal Care Products Council, on PFAS in Cosmetics and Personal Care Products



Lisa Powers,, (202) 297-1232
Stefanie Harrington,, (202) 615-6558
Jamie Kurke,, (202) 258-5285

Washington, D.C. – “Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a diverse group of chemicals with more than 6,000 ingredients and widely differing chemistries. It is inappropriate to assume that anything with a fluorine atom has the same safety profile. This group of chemicals is used in a wide range of consumer products. A small number of PFAS may be found as ingredients or at trace levels in cosmetics and personal care products, such as lotion, nail polish, eye makeup and foundation. When added as an ingredient, these materials are used to condition and smooth the skin or for product consistency and texture.

“In the U.S., cosmetics are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and the Fair Packaging and Labeling Act (FPLA). All cosmetic products and their ingredients are subject to the same safety requirement under the FD&C Act – they must be shown to be safe for consumers before they are marketed. The labeling of those products must be truthful and not misleading under FPLA. Companies that market cosmetics and personal care products have a legal responsibility to ensure that their products and the ingredients used in them are safe before they are marketed to the public.

“In a recent study published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Technology Letters, some of the fluorine levels detected could be the result of trace amounts from materials naturally occurring in the environment or as a result of the manufacturing process. Since trace amounts are not intentionally added to products, they are not required to be listed on the label. FDA recognizes their possible presence and offers guidance on allowable levels. The Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) supports FDA’s authority to review these compounds, and they have the expertise to do so.

“Cosmetic and personal care products companies remain committed to advancing innovative approaches while creating products that benefit a variety of consumers’ needs. PCPC, working with the Environmental Working Group, has supported prohibition of certain PFAS from use in cosmetics. Our member companies take their responsibility for product safety and the trust families put in those products very seriously. Science and safety are the foundation for everything we do.”


Founded in 1894, the Personal Care Products Council (PCPC) is the voice and advocate for 600 member companies representing the $450 billion global cosmetics and personal care products industry. PCPC’s members represent approximately 90% of the U.S. beauty industry and are some of the most beloved and trusted brands in beauty and personal care today. As manufacturers, distributers and suppliers of a diverse range of products millions of consumers rely on every day – from sunscreens, toothpaste and shampoo to moisturizer, makeup and fragrance – PCPC’s member companies are global leaders committed to safety, quality and innovation. For more information on cosmetics and personal care products and their ingredients, please visit