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Misc. News : Letter to Editor Last Updated: Apr 20, 2011 - 9:38:09 AM

One third of lipsticks on the market contain high lead
By Sue Mueller
Oct 13, 2007 - 9:09:51 AM

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SATURDAY October 13, 2007 ( -- One third of lipsticks manufactured in the United States and used by millions of American women contain lead at a level that exceeds the limit of the metal allowed in food, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) reported October 11.


The CDC commissioned the lead tests, which found half of 33 brand-name red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis contained detectable levels of lead, ranging between 0.03 and 0.65 parts per million (ppm).


Lead is not an ingredient and it gets into lipsticks as a contaminant.


One third of the tested lipsticks contained lead at a level higher than the 0.1 ppm limit the FDA allows in candy, according to the report.    Lipstick products can be ingested like candy, but the FDA has not set a limit for lead in these products, the organization said in its press release.


High levels of lead were detected in expensive brands like Dior Addict bran which is sold for $24.50 each while some cheap brands like Revlon, which is sold for $7.49 each, did not contain a detectable level of lead.


Some top brands that contain high levels of lead include 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) and Dior Addict “Positive Red” (0.21 ppm).


Lead can cause irreversible damage to neurons and one's capability of learning and language skills.   It can lower one's IQ and cause behavioral problems.   Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can also cause infertility and miscarriage.


“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” said Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.


“The cosmetics industry needs to clean up its act and remove lead and other toxic ingredients from their products,” said Stacy Malkan, author of the just-released book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.”


The CSC is calling on the manufacturers to reformulate their products to make them lead-free and also asking the FDA to regulate the personal care products.

For more information on lead and lipsticks, read here.

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