Study finds ‘forever chemicals’ in popular brands of adhesive bandages

Potentially dangerous chemicals appeared in bandage brands like Band-Aids, CVS and Walmart, according to a recent study.

A new study detected a type of “forever chemical” in various adhesive bandage brands, including well-known ones such as Band-Aid and Curad, alongside store brands from major retailers like CVS, Wal-Mart, and Target. This discovery came from an independent lab testing, which found PFAS (Per- and polyfluorinated alkyl substances) in both the adhesive and absorbent parts of the bandages. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PFAS “are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings and products that resist heat, oil, stains, grease, and water.” While there have been no reports of harmful effects of PFAS in adhesives, previous CDC studies on animals found that the chemicals “may affect growth and development […] reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system, and injure the liver.” 

Similarly, the Environmental Protection Agency found that PFAS can negatively impact people’s immune systems, fertility, and development and increase cancer risk. The wellness site Mamavation released the reported presence of this “forever chemical” in bandages in collaboration with Environmental Health News.

To conduct the study, Mamavation said it sent 40 bandages from 18 different brands to an EPA-approved laboratory to test for the presence of these toxic chemicals. It stated that 65% of those bandages showed indications of “forever chemicals.” Similarly, the study found that 63% of bandages marketed to people with melanated skin tones had traces of PFAS. 

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“Because bandages are placed upon open wounds, it’s troubling to learn that they may be also exposing children and adults to PFAS,” said Linda S. Birnbaum, former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program and professor at the University of North Carolina and Yale University, per Mamavation. “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.” 

In its report, Mamavation ranked bandage brands from those with the most and least amount of PFAS. Among the brands listed, CVS Pharmacy was the only brand to respond to theGrio’s request for comment. 

“CVS Pharmacy’s store brands are designed to maximize quality and safety, work as intended, comply with regulations, and satisfy customers,” the company said in a statement shared with theGrio. “We’re in the process of reviewing and evaluating the information in Mamavation’s bandage report.” 

For a full list of the brands and bandages listed in the study visit