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Report says Band-Aids contain PFAS, the “forever chemicals.” Many small exposures can add up to a big exposure, environmental expert warns

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image of three bandaids that have consumer reports raise awareness about harmful chemicals in personal care products and incentivize policymakers to come up with regulations.

Adhesive bandages, or Band-Aids as they are generally called after the brand produced by Johnson & Johnson, have been keeping our cuts, scrapes or blisters protected from bacteria, damage and dirt for more than a century. But a new consumer report, commissioned by Mamavation, an online parenting community and website, has found they may not be as helpful as once thought. In fact, they might actually be harmful to our health. Partnering with Environmental Health News, the consumer watchdog sent 40 bandages of different brands to a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-certified lab. The lab found that 65% of the bandages contained detectable levels of phthalates, better known as PFAS, the “forever chemicals.” 

Such consumer reports raise awareness that many personal care products might contain these chemicals and incentivize policymakers to come up with regulations, says Phil Brown, a Northeastern distinguished professor of sociology and health science, and director of the university’s Social Science Environmental Health Research Institute. Bandages, Brown says, just like menstrual products, can be used on very sensitive areas of the body where PFAS can easily be absorbed. “You’re usually putting them on an open wound. That’s what they’re for,” he says. It may be a small area overall, Brown says, and maybe that scrape closes up in two or three days, but some people use plastic bandages a lot. “Even if you think this is a small exposure, you add up a lot of small exposures, [and] you have a big exposure,” he says.

Read more at Northeastern Global News.

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