Tuesday, December 04, 2007

LEAD in lipstick

This sure gives "eat lead" a whole new meaning. Hm, I always thought this might be an urban legend, so I haven't posted it. But everyone knows how lead makes things stick better (that's why it's in almost all PVC products including kids' lunchboxes).

What's sad is that it's not the government that did these tests, but an independent, non government organization. The government probably doesn't want to piss off the cosmetics lobby. Don't forget, there are NO regulations governing what's in cosmetics, they don't even have to tell you what's in it (note, you will not see "lead" in the list of ingredients--although it's probably there to add color and act as a fixative). And $$$ brands are just as likely to have it as cheapo brands.

Here's the report from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (p.s. why is there LEAD in CANDY????):

Lipstick manufactured in the United States contains “surprisingly high” levels of lead, according to a new study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

More than half (61 percent) of 33 name-brand lipsticks tested in September 2007 contained lead levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). One-third of the lipsticks had more lead than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy.

Although lipstick is ingested directly into your body, the FDA has not set a lead limit for the cosmetic. Among the brands with the highest lead levels were:

  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red” -- 0.65 ppm
  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine” - 0.58 ppm
  • Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red” -- 0.56 ppm
  • Dior Addict “Positive Red” -- 0.21 ppm
Lead is a known neurotoxin that can:
  • Cause learning, language, and behavioral problems
  • Cross the placenta and interfere with normal fetal development
  • Possibly cause infertility and miscarriage
The small amounts of lead in personal care products build up over time in your body, and can lead to a significant accumulation.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling for cosmetics makers to remove lead from their products, and for the FDA to more strictly regulate personal care products.

Lipsticks can be manufactured without lead, the Campaign pointed out, as 39 percent of lipsticks tested had no detectable levels of lead.


What should you do for the holiday season (besides not wear lipstick?) Well, our wacky friends in the EU won't allow any chemical that is 1. mutagenic 2. carcinogenic or 3. toxic to the reproductive system into their products, so you might want to opt for brands that meet EU standards.

Fun fact: did you know that when inspectors nab lead-filled and etc. products that don't meet EU standards what happens to them? Bingo! They are sent for resale in the US! Perfectly legal.

For cosmetics, I always like Dr. Hauschka products because they work well and are non toxic. Here's their statement on lead:

Ensuring the health and well-being of our customers is a foundational
mandate for Dr.Hauschka and manufacturer WALA Heilmittel. Our stringent
quality specifications for ingredients and formulations ensure that all
finished products, including Dr.Hauschka Lipsticks, test well below
maximum levels established by the U.S. and European Union for lead and
other metal contaminants in cosmetics. Though exposure to excessive
amounts of lead carries significant health risks, lead is a naturally
occurring element and exposure to it cannot be completely avoided. Dr.
Hauschka cosmetics, however, are not a significant source of lead