Study: Cancer-causing chemicals found in Band-Aids, other bandage brands

Tests found high levels of fluorine in several popular bandage brands

Band-Aid: Fast facts.

Band-Aids and other popular brands of adhesive bandages have been found to contain higher-than-expected levels of cancer-causing “forever chemicals.”

In partnership with the Environmental Health Sciences blog and Mamavation, the Institute for Green Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University examined 40 bandages from 18 different brands, and discovered per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), also known as forever chemicals in 26 of the bandages.

“Because bandages are placed upon open wounds, it’s troubling to learn that they may be also exposing children and adults to PFAS,” said Dr. Linda S. Birnbaum, the study’s co-author and the former director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and National Toxicology Program.

According to the study, organic fluorine, which is a strong indicator of PFAS, was generally found in the adhesive part of the band-aids.

A 2021 study suggested PFAS can cause “altered immune and thyroid function, liver disease, lipid and insulin dysregulation, kidney disease, adverse reproductive and developmental outcomes, and cancer.”

Brands that tested positive for PFAS included:

  • Band-Aid
  • Care Science
  • Curad
  • CVS Health
  • Equate
  • First Honey
  • Rite Aid
  • Amazon’s Solimo
  • Up & Up
  • Target’s own brand.

“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,” Dr. Birnbaum urged.