Most Bandages Contain ‘Forever Chemicals’

Woman holding bandage
Woman holding bandage | Image by Tetra Images/Getty Images

A recent study found that popular bandage brands contain heightened levels of PFAS, or “forever chemicals.”

The report was commissioned by Environmental Health News and Mamavation, a website resource for mothers seeking non-toxic products and other health-related advice and research. Of the 40 bandages that underwent testing, 26, or 65%, “had organic fluorine above 10 parts per million,” indicating the likely presence of PFAS.

At least 12,000 types of PFAS exist, a class of chemicals the Environmental Protection Agency associates with elevated risks of cancer, decreased fertility, and other health complications. While their exact health impact remains unclear, most Americans (97%) have PFAS in their blood, reported TIME Magazine.

This is far from the first time PFAS have been flagged for potential harm. Last year, 3M agreed to pay an over $10 billion settlement over claims the company’s forever chemicals, like PFAS, tainted water supplies nationwide. Chemours, DuPont, and Corteva are examples of other companies that have similarly settled over PFAS lawsuits, highlighting the serious health concerns associated with these chemicals.

More recently, in January, The Dallas Express reported on a study that attempted to quantify the health costs associated with plastics. In particular, the study sought to better understand the disease burden of PFAS and other chemicals. Notably, the authors found that PFAS and other chemicals found in plastic resulted in $249 billion in healthcare costs in 2018 alone.

“Because bandages are placed upon open wounds, it’s troubling to learn that they may be also exposing children and adults to PFAS. 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,” said Linda Birnbaum, scientist emeritus and former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program and scholar in residence at Duke University, who analyzed the findings of the bandage testing commissioned by Mamavation.

“This stuff can directly enter the body from the bandage and it doesn’t make sense for these companies to use it,” she said, per The Guardian.

For more information, including lists of bandages Mamavation recommends, click here.

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