CoverGirl Cosmetics was sued in D.C. Superior Court based on false advertising and the presence of toxic chemicals known as PFAS. The complaint filed in D.C. Superior Court alleges that PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), a toxic group of manufactured chemicals, were found in CoverGirl makeup products they sell to the public as “sustainable.” Does your favorite makeup brand contain PFAS “forever chemicals”? You’ve trusted Mamavation to cover topics like best green beauty makeup without PFAS, best period underwear without PFAS, and best organic mattresses without PFAS, now join us for coverage of the CoverGirl Makeup PFAS & false advertisement lawsuit. Stick around for the results of our makeup investigation and how much PFAS we found in green beauty brands.
Disclosure: This post was medically reviewed by Sondra Strand, RN, BSN, PHN. This post also contains affiliate links.
CoverGirl Makeup Sued in Superior Court for PFAS & False Advertising
A complaint against CoverGirl Cosmetics & Coty, Inc, was registered on December 20th, 2021 in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia Civil Division for false advertising under the District of Columbia Consumer Protection Procedures Act (“CPPA”).
Toxin-Free USA, a non-profit organization dedicated to consumer protection and education, has alleged that Cover Girl misrepresented their products when they described them as being sustainable and described themselves as being a champion of “open, inclusive, and sustainable beauty” and similar such claims in their sustainability report.
The suit alleges that indications of PFAS “forever chemicals” have been discovered in products sold by CoverGirl Cosmetics and because it’s known that PFAS are toxic & persistent, CoverGirl should not be representing themselves or their products as “sustainable.”
CoverGirl Lab Tests find 6,242 ppm Organic Fluorine in Makeup Product
The lawsuit alleges that Toxin-Free USA sent CoverGirl’s TruBlend Pressed Powder to an EPA-certified laboratory and the results were 6,242 parts per million (ppm) of fluorine. Subsequent testing revealed that it was all organic fluorine, which is an indicator of PFAS “forever chemicals.”
The lawsuit further alleges that “reasonable consumers encountering Defendants’ representations emphasizing safety and sustainability do not expect the Product to contain harmful, unsustainable chemicals, such as PFAS…Defendants also knew and intended that consumers would choose to buy, and would pay more for, products represented to be “safe” and “sustainable,” furthering Defendants’ private interest of increasing sales of their products and decreasing the sales of their competitors products that are truthfully marketed.”
Health Problems Linked with PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
Finding indications of PFAS “Forever Chemcials” at that level are concerning. Makeup is daily exposure to millions of women. Here is the list of health problems (PFAS) perfluorinated chemicals are linked to from over decades of research:
- reduction in immunity
- metabolic diseases like obesity & diabetes
- reduced vaccination response
- cardiovascular disease
- affect the growth, learning, and behavior of infants and older children
- increased risk of allergies & asthma in young children
- lower a woman’s chance of getting pregnant
- increase the chances of miscarriage
- increase cholesterol levels
- low sperm count
- smaller penis size
- increase the risk of kidney & testicular cancers
If you feel like you’ve been exposed to PFAS, the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, a division of Community Health Investigations has created this fact sheet to use when talking to your doctor. While regulating authorities struggle to catch up, it would be wise to limit your daily exposure to PFAS within consumer products.
Best Makeup Brands Without PFAS “Forever Chemicals”
Mamavation commissioned a consumer study & tested 83 green beauty makeup products in the fall of 2021. Mostly mascaras & lipglosses of 49 different brands were sent to an EPA-certified lab for review. The laboratory results stated that 65% of them contained detectable organic fluorine, which is indicative of PFAS present in the cosmetic formula. The full list of brands and products Mamavation tested is available, however, we’ve decided to pull the six brands that had no detectable levels of organic fluorine and feature them for you here.
- 100% Pure: 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara (non-detect), 100% Pure Lip Caramel Lip Gloss (non-detect), & 100% Pure Bamboo Blur Tinted Moisturizer (non-detect)
- Beautycounter: Beautycounter All-n-1 Mascara (non-detect), Beautycounter Beyond Gloss (non-detect) & Beautycounter Skin Twin Featherweight Foundation (non-detect)
- Crunchi: Crunchi Shattered Mascara (non-detect), Crunchi Datenight Hydrogloss (non-detect) & Crunchi My Alibi Concealer (non-detect)
- Henne: Henne Luxury Lip Tint – Desire (non-detect)
- Lily Lolo: Lily Lolo Natural Mascara (non-detect)
- Pure Haven: Pure Haven Mascara (non-detect), Pure Haven Clear Shine Lip Gloss (non-detect), & Pure Haven Tinted Moisturizer (non-detect)
Support Federal Toxic-Free Legislation Aimed at Cleaning Up The Beauty Aisle
Right now in Washington, D.C. there are four federal legislative bills that, if passed, will protect your family anytime they shop for personal care products. Cosmetics is an industry with lax federal regulations. Based on the results of our study, the cosmetics act we are most excited about is the one based on supply chain transparency.
- The Toxic-Free Beauty Act (Reps. Schakowsky and Fletcher): Bans 11 of the most toxic chemicals including mercury, formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, phenylenediamines (hair dye chemicals), and the entire class of PFAS “forever” chemicals.
- Cosmetic Safety Protections for Communities of Color and Salon Workers (Reps. Schakowsky and Blunt Rochester): Defends the health of women of color and salon workers, two vulnerable populations who are among the most highly exposed to toxic chemicals because of the products marketed to them or commonly found in their workplaces. (See our hair relaxer & hair dye investigations to see what I mean.)
- Cosmetic Fragrance and Flavor Right to Know Act of 2021 (Reps. Schakowsky and Matsui): Requires the disclosure of these secret, unlabeled, and often toxic chemicals in our personal care products.
- Cosmetic Supply Chain Transparency Act (Rep. Schakowsky): requires suppliers of raw materials, ingredients, and private label products to provide full ingredient disclosure and safety data to cosmetic companies so they can make safer products.
We encourage you to get involved and support these four pieces of legislation, share with your friends, and let your legislator know that you want them! How can you do that? It’s easy.
- Sign this petition! It will be shared with your congressional representative and add another voice to safer beauty for all!
- Share this petition on Facebook & Twitter!
- Send an email to your friend and you can easily use this language right here.
- If you are an organization, business, or influencer, you can formally endorse these bills here.