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Forever Chemicals Banned In Cosmetics In New Zealand

Set to come into force in December 2026, The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) has banned PFAS, otherwise known as "forever chemicals" in cosmetic products in New Zealand. They don't decompose in nature and can be found in non-stick pans, takeout containers, microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, and fast food wrappers, to name a few.

Image of pancake in a non-stick pan.

The ban will help to protect people and the environment from the chemicals and implement regulations for businesses to follow. In a statement, Hazardous Substances Reassessments Manager, Dr Shaun Presow said: “International research suggests PFAS are only found in a small number of products, but we take a precautionary approach to potential risks from PFAS. Banning these chemicals in cosmetics is part of our ongoing response, which includes phasing out all PFAS-firefighting foams and testing for background levels of PFAS in the New Zealand environment," adding, "We’ve also strengthened the regulations so non-hazardous cosmetic products that contain a hazardous ingredient are now regulated. This makes it easier for us to enforce the rules around banned and restricted ingredients that may be found in these products.”

However, New Zealand isn't the only country taking action. In the United States, various states across the country are considering banning some of the chemicals, too, with the intent for bills and legislation to be put in place eventually. Other countries, such as Thailand, have even banned coral-damaging sunscreens in an effort to protect both the corals and the environment.