What’s in Your Lipstick?

Some Consumer Groups Warn of Harmful Levels of Lead

by Aubrianna Willard-Lee, Age 13

    Did you know that your favorite lipstick may contain traces of lead? Lead is a highly toxic metal found in things such as older homes, contaminated soil, and lead-glazed pottery. Chronic lead exposure can increase blood pressure, decrease fertility, affect memory, cause cataracts, nerve disorders, muscle and joint pains.
    Over 400 popular lipsticks were found to have traces of the poisonous toxin, according to a recent Food and Drug Administration (FDA) study. One of the worst cases of lead in lipstick is Maybelline’s Color Sensational Pink Petal, having 7.19 parts per million of lead. Cover Girl and Nars brands also had very high amounts of lead. In these the range was four to five parts per million. These amounts are about double the levels of lead found in the FDA’s first lipstick lead test in 2007.
    The FDA first started testing lead in lipstick as a response to concerns raised by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a consumer organization. The group argues that although lead levels are small, as “lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick [is] applied several times a day, everyday, [this] can add up to significant exposure levels.”
    An industry trade group says that lead is never intentionally added to cosmetics, and the FDA does not believe that lead in lipstick is a safety threat. But it does acknowledge potential harms and is, “evaluating whether there may be a need to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick in order to further protect the health and welfare of consumers.”
    Even though the FDA does not think lead in lipstick poses a significant safety threat, lead levels in cosmetic products are rising. And some experts say these products can cause serious damage.

[Source: Time: 100 New Scientific Discover]