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Cancer-causing “Forever Chemicals” Have Been Found In Band-Aids and Other Popular Adhesive Bandage Brands

Cancer-causing “Forever Chemicals” Have Been Found In Band-Aids and Other Popular Adhesive Bandage Brands
Source: Towfiqu barbhuiya/Pexels/CRC

A new report has discovered that Band-Aid and Curad contain dangerous levels of cancer-causing “forever chemicals.”

DailyMail reports that tests have discovered chemical fluorine in over two dozen different bandages present in millions of medical cabinets across the United States. Consumer watchdog blog Mamavation and Environmental Health News looked at absorbent pads and adhesive flaps of bandages sold at retailers like CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Target, and Amazon. Using the EPA-certified lab, they discover that “forever chemicals,” or PFAS chemicals, are present. Typically, manufacturers use these chemicals to make adhesives. Investigators believe manufacturers use these chemicals in the manufacturing process to create these products.

The CDC explains that PFAS, short for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, comprise a group of chemicals used to create fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water. Unfortunately, these chemicals do not break down in the environment, and “can move through soils and contaminate drinking water sources.”

PFAS substances contain bonds of carbon and fluorine atoms, which are very resilient chemicals. These chemicals persist in the environment for years or decades and permeate various locations. They primarily occur in water and stain-repellent products, such as nonstick cookware.

Fluorine, which is also used to make rocket fuel, exists in bandages as one of the chemicals. This chemical can also lead to skin burns and eye damage but is most dangerous when inhaled. Researchers discovered that the bandages, including brands like Band-Aid, Care Science, Curad, CVS Health, Equate, First Honey, Rite Aid brand, Solimo (Amazon brand), Up & Up, and Target’s brand, contained high levels of fluorine exceeding 100 parts per million.

The bandages that contain high levels of fluorine above 100 parts per million include brands Band-Aid, Care Science, Curad, CVS Health, Equate, First Honey, Rite Aid brand, Solimo (Amazon brand), and Up & Up, Target’s brand.

Toxicologist and former head of the National Toxicology Program Dr. Linda Birnbaum co-led the lab testing. Birnbaum says that it is “troubling” that the chemicals could lead to potentially life-threatening risks if they come into contact with open wounds. These chemicals can easily enter the bloodstream if a person drinks water or eats food laced with them.

“Because bandages are placed upon open wounds, it’s troubling to learn that they may also be exposing children and adults to PFAS,” Birnbaum 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.”

When the chemicals enter the bloodstream, they lodge into healthy tissues and begin to damage the immune system, the liver, the kidneys, and other organs. Mamavation suggests that bandages likely use their water and grease-resistant properties. The presence of the PFAS chemical in the bandages likely enables this resistance.

PFAS are concerning, the CDC says, because “studies of laboratory animals given large amounts of PFAS indicate that some PFAS may affect growth and development. In addition, these animal studies indicate PFAS may affect reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and injure the liver.”

However, there has been no indication that bandages have caused negative health effects from PFAs.


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