Home Health Are anti-fog products for goggles and goggles harmful?

Are anti-fog products for goggles and goggles harmful?


Products called “anti-fog” are very useful for people wearing both a mask and glasses to avoid condensation. Faced with this growing enthusiasm linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Duke University wanted to know if these products sold in the form spray or wipes contain substances harmful to health. Bad news: these can contain high levels of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) according to their study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology. These are a large chemical class of synthetic organofluorine compounds.

The researchers tested the four anti-fog sprays and five top-rated anti-fog cloths on the Amazon site, and found that all nine products contained fluorinated telomere alcohols (FTOHs) and fluorinated telomeres ethoxylates (FTEOs), two types of PFAS. However, exposure to certain PFAS, in particular perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS), is associated with impaired immune function, cancers, thyroid disorders and other health conditions. Pregnant women and young children are particularly at risk from these products, which can affect reproductive health and developmental.

Substances harmful to humans little studied

“Our tests show that the sprays contain up to 20.7 milligrams of PFAS per milliliter of solution, a fairly high concentration. “, explains Nicholas Herkert who led the study. Because FTOHs and FTEOs have been relatively understudied to date, scientists don’t yet know what specific health risks they might pose. But they assume that once the FTOHs inhaled or absorbed through the skin, these substances can break down in the body into perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or other types of PFAS known to be toxic. The scientific team was particularly interested possible effects of EOTFs.

Turns out the results showed significant toxicity for cell modification and conversion to fat cells in laboratory tests. “If we were to assume that FTOHs and FTEOs have similar toxicity to PFOA and PFOS, spraying would expose you to PFAS at levels higher than you would receive drinking a liter of water which contains PFAS at the current limit for safe consumption in the country, which is 70 nanograms per litre,” adds Nicholas Herkert. “It is disturbing to think that the products people use to ensure their safety during the pandemic may expose them to a different risk. »

What about other chemicals?

The risk is all the greater as certain products require spray on glasses then a friction with the fingers to make it penetrate. The researchers also deplore the fact that for none of the products analysed, the list of ingredients is not readily available to find out whether they actually contain chemical products potentially harmful. This required analyzing them in the laboratory using a technique called “high resolution mass spectrometry”. Due to the small sample sizes tested, they call for further research on this topic to flesh out these initial findings, including testing on living organisms.

FTOHs and FTEOs could be endocrine disruptors but the only way to find out is to carry out in vivo tests on whole organisms. We only performed laboratory tests. says Nicholas Herkert. Studies with larger samples would also identify other “hidden” chemicals also contained in these sprays or cloths with anti-fog effects. “Because of COVID, a lot more people are using these sprays and wipes to keep their glasses from fogging up while wearing masks. They deserve to know what’s inside the products they use. “, conclude the researchers.

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