Common bandages contain alarming levels of cancer-causing PFAS, which leach directly into the blood
By Lance D Johnson // Apr 11, 2024

A new investigation by Mammavation finds that cancer-causing per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are manufactured into the absorbent pad and sticky flap of common bandages. This is concerning, because PFAS can then leach directly into the bloodstream.

According to the investigation, bandages from some of the most well-known brands, like Band-Aid and Curad, contain hazardous amounts of these “forever chemicals.” The testing revealed the presence of fluorine in more than two dozen bandages, which are widely available in medicine cabinets across the nation.

PFAS compounds are strong chemicals that can withstand being in the environment for many years because they have links between fluorine and carbon atoms. The compounds are found in many products, most notably nonstick cookware, hamburger wrappers, menstrual pads and water- and stain-repellent goods. Teflon, the ubiquitous nonstick coating seen in kitchens, is derived from polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a type of fluorocarbon. It can linger in human tissue and the environment for years or perhaps decades before being eliminated. These chemicals interfere with human hormones, metabolism and body weight.

Investigation finds that PFAS are infiltrating our blood through BandAids and other common bandages

The investigation looked for PFAS compounds in the adhesive flaps and absorbent pads of bandages offered at CVS, Walmart, Rite Aid, Target and Amazon, among other large stores. When 40 bandages from 18 different brands were examined, quantifiable levels of  fluorine were discovered in 26 of the brands. Four types of bandages made by Band-Aid contained more than 180 parts per million of organic fluorine, a vital component of PFAS forever chemicals.

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The investigators said that PFAS chemicals, which are occasionally used to produce adhesives, are byproducts of regular production processes. Mamavation claims that the PFAS in bandages are probably there because of their resistance to grease and water.

After a person consumes food or drinks water contaminated with PFAS chemicals, the toxins can readily enter the bloodstream. Once PFAS enter the bloodstream, they can settle into healthy tissue and start to harm organs such as the kidneys, liver and immune system. Toxicologist and former chief of the National Toxicology Program Dr. Linda Birnbaum, who co-led the lab research, described the findings as "troubling" because the toxic chemicals come in close contact with open wounds.

"It's alarming to learn that bandages may also be exposing children and adults to PFAS because they are placed upon open wounds," Dr. Birnbaum stated. Since the research makes it clear that PFAS are not necessary for wound care, it is critical that the industry stop using them in order to safeguard the public from PFAS and switch to PFAS-free alternatives.

Bandages with PFAS include:

  • Band-Aid Flexible Fabric Comfortable Protection Bandages: 188 ppm organic fluorine on absorbent pad
  • Band-Aid OURTONE Flexible Fabric BR45 Bandages — absorbent pad contained 262 ppm organic fluorine.
  • Band-Aid OURTONE Flexible Fabric BR55 Bandages — absorbent pad contained 250 ppm organic fluorine.
  • Band-Aid OURTONE Flexible Fabric BR65 Bandages — absorbent pads contained 260 ppm organic fluorine and sticky flaps contained 374 ppm.
  • Care Science Antibacterial Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages — sticky flaps contained 328 ppm organic fluorine.
  • Curad Assorted Bandaids 4-Sided Seal — sticky flaps contained 140 ppm organic fluorine.
  • CVS Health C60 Flexible Fabric Antibacterial Bandages — absorbent pad contained 201 ppm organic fluorine.
  • CVS Health C70 Flexible Fabric Sterile Bandages — sticky flaps contained 272 ppm organic fluorine and absorbent pad contained 124 ppm.
  • CVS Health C80 Flexible Fabric Antibacterial Bandages — 128 ppm organic fluorine measured on absorbent pad.
  • Equate (Walmart) Flexible Fabric Bandages Antibacterial — 118 ppm organic fluorine detected on absorbent pad and 165 ppm on the sticky flaps.
  • Equate (Walmart) SKIN TONE Antibacterial Bandages Flexible Fabric (darkest shade) — 197 ppm organic fluorine measured on the absorbent pad and 251 ppm on the sticky flaps.
  • Equate (Walmart) SKIN TONE Antibacterial Bandages Flexible Fabric (medium to dark shade) — 112 ppm organic fluorine detected on the absorbent pad.
  • Equate (Walmart) SKIN TONE Antibacterial Bandages Flexible Fabric (medium to light shade) — 120 ppm organic fluorine found on the absorbent pad.
  • First Honey Manuka Bandages — sticky flaps contained 157 ppm organic fluorine.
  • Rite Aid First Aid Advanced Antibacterial Fabric Adhesive Bandages — 101 ppm organic fluorine on the absorbent pad and 181 parts per million (ppm) in the sticky flaps.
  • Solimo (Amazon Brand) Flexible Fabric Adhesive Bandages — 104 ppm organic fluorine on the sticky flaps.
  • UP & UP (Target) Flexible Fabric Bandages — 256 ppm organic fluorine on the absorbent pad and 253 parts per million (ppm) on the sticky flaps.

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