What Are PFAS?

PFAS are toxic, man-made chemicals. DuPont and 3M made the first hazardous PFAS chemicals back in the mid-1900s. Today, we live with thousands of these toxic “nonstick, stain-repellent and waterproof compounds.” (1)

What Products Contain PFAS?

“PFAS are in your shampoo bottle, your stain-resistant couch, your dental floss, your bicycle lubricant. … From packaging and products, PFAS have found their way into rainwater, soil, sediment, ice caps, and outdoor and indoor plants. The substances have been detected in the living tissues of animals around the world.” (2)

You can find PFAS in: (3)

  • Waterproof apparel.
  • Firefighting foam used on fuel-based fires.
  • Coated paper products.
  • Grease and waterproof coatings on popcorn bags, fast food wrappers, and takeout containers.
  • Engineered coatings used in semiconductor production.
  • Surfaces in food processing equipment, including tubing in ice cream and soda dispensers.

“Certain PFAS are also intentionally added as ingredients in some cosmetic products.” PFAS are used in cosmetic products to “condition and smooth the skin, making it appear shiny,” to improve product consistency and texture, or to give the products a waterproof quality.

These products include: (4)

  • Lotions.
  • Cleansers.
  • Nail polish.
  • Shaving cream.
  • Foundation, lipstick, eyeliner, eyeshadow, and mascara.

What Brands Contain PFAS?

“Unfortunately, there are no laws in the United States requiring manufacturers to warn consumers that an item was made with PFAS. … Generally, you’re better off assuming that something does contain PFAS, particularly if you find keywords like ‘waterproof,’ ‘stain-repellent,’ or ‘dirt-repellant’ on the tag.” (5)

In response to public pressure, “a number of apparel brands are taking action. American Eagle and L.L. Bean have both removed PFAS from across all their merchandise. Other major brands, like Ralph Lauren and Patagonia Inc., have set time-bound commitments to do the same. But they are still in the minority.” (6)

It’s almost easier to find out which brands don’t contain PFAS. Visit PFAS Central for more information. (7)

Lawsuits for PFAS in Cosmetics

In terms of cosmetics, lawsuits have already been filed. The companies being sued include L’Oreal, CoverGirl, Shiseido, and Burt’s Bees.

“The more scientists investigate cosmetics and personal care products, the more we learn how many of these products are made with PFAS that is not disclosed to the consumer,” explains James Bilsborrow, W&L partner and our Environmental, Toxic Tort & Consumer Protection group co-chair. “Potentially hundreds of these products may contain dangerous chemicals.”

More often than not, PFAS show up in the cosmetics we buy.

Have you or a loved one been harmed by products containing PFAS? Contact us for a free case evaluation.

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PFAS in Home Products

Many objects throughout your home probably contain PFAS. This includes materials used in finishing and protecting your home, as well as in the household items you use to cook and clean.

You can find PFAS in “stain and water-repellent used on carpets, upholstery, clothing, and other fabrics; cleaning products; non-stick cookware; paints, varnishes, and sealants.”

In addition, you can find PFAS in: (8)

  • Electronics.
  • Textiles.
  • Specialty papers

PFAS in Clothes

PFAS are practically everywhere in clothing. Products coated in PFAS can expose you directly, whether waterproof shoes, raincoats, or handbags. (9)

“Whether found in a raincoat or a pair of yoga pants, PFAS are used widely in our clothing, shoes, and accessories. These chemicals also pollute at every stage of production. At the PFAS chemical manufacturing facilities and garment factories, they often contaminate the air, water, and soil of the surrounding environment.” (10)

PFAS in Food and Water

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is monitoring how PFAS affects what we eat. “The FDA has been leading the science in developing validated methods for testing for PFAS in increasingly diverse types of foods.” (11)

We also are exposed to PFAS through the food we eat. “It is estimated that the most significant dietary source of PFAS is fish and shellfish.” (12) The FDA has been testing for PFAS in produce, meat, dairy products, grain, bottled water, and milk. Low levels of PFAS have been found in vegetables, honey, eggs, and tap water.

In Michigan, in January 2022, beef produced by Grostic Cattle Company, near Hartland, was found to be contaminated with PFAS. “Efforts are underway by the State of Michigan to ensure contaminated beef is no longer sold.” Consumers who bought this beef have been alerted. (13) (14)

In New York, public health agencies have detected PFAS contamination in drinking water, particularly “near where these chemicals were manufactured, used, or disposed of.” The state’s Department of Health “regulates two commonly found PFAS contaminants in public drinking water supplies. PFOA and PFOS drinking water standards or ‘maximum contaminant levels (MCLs)’ are set at 10 parts per trillion (or nanograms per liter) each for public water supplies.” (15)

How to Limit PFAS Exposure at Home

There are several things you can do to lower your risk of exposure to PFAS at home.


To find out if your clothing is free from PFAS, check the brand’s website. The site may tell you if the company has announced it has eliminated PFAS from its clothing. If it doesn’t, contact the brand’s customer service and ask directly. (16)

“Don’t be fooled by labels or promises that a product is ‘PFOA-free’ or ‘PFOS-free’” because those PFAS chemicals have largely been eliminated from U.S. production. There are many PFAS-containing substitutes that are commonly used. (17)


To make sure your water is safe, ask your water provider about PFAS testing in your area. If monitoring is not currently being done, ask both your provider and your state to start monitoring for these PFAS. Some home water filters can also help reduce contamination levels. (18)


When cooking, “avoid the most obvious offenders.” Replace nonstick pans with stainless steel, cast-iron, ceramic, or glass. In addition, “don’t heat up food that’s wrapped in grease-resistant packaging. And make popcorn on the stovetop instead of in PFAS-treated microwave bags.” (19)

Furniture and Household Items

When selecting furniture for your home, avoid purchasing any items labeled as being water- or stain-repellent. This is particularly true for bed linens. “Those treatments are practically guaranteed to contain PFAS.” (20)

If you have suffered medical complications due to PFAS-containing products, contact us today to understand your legal rights.

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Joining a PFAS Lawsuit

You or a loved one may have unknowingly purchased clothing, food, furniture, or other items containing PFAS. You bought these items thinking in each case you were choosing a safe, healthy product.

Thousands, of people nationwide have purchased the same defective products. So have hundreds in your own region of the U.S.

If this fits your situation, consult with an attorney about joining a class action suit. Your attorney should have extensive experience representing people across the country.

You need an attorney who can look at the big picture. You need someone who has gone up against some of the largest consumer product manufacturers nationwide, as well as potentially multiple defendants.

That firm can help you secure the compensation you deserve. And W&L fits the description. Once you hire the right attorney team for you, we help you explore your legal options. We can set the legal process in motion and guide you every step of the way.

How W&L Can Help

Weitz & Luxenberg is a nationally recognized personal injury law firm with almost 40 years of experience. We are helping thousands of people across the country who were injured due to the negligence of others.

Our attorneys are prepared to help you consider appropriate legal action for your specific circumstances. We have been successful in many environmental pollution and defective consumer products lawsuits. Plus, we have a proven track record of winning cases.

Here are a few examples:

  • Weitz & Luxenberg secured a $65 million settlement for approximately 10,000 residents of Hoosick Falls, New York, where the drinking water supply became contaminated with the toxic chemical PFOA.
  • Weitz & Luxenberg achieved a $23.5 million settlement on behalf of over 1,500 Petersburgh, New York, property owners, residents, and businesses who had drinking water contaminated with PFOA.
  • Weitz & Luxenberg secured $423 million in a settlement on behalf of over 150 communities across the U.S. because their water systems were poisoned with MTBE, a gasoline additive.