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Warning: 5 Metals In Your Lipstick That Endanger Your Health

Lipstick health risks

That added color and shine to your lips with a lipstick or lip gloss may create an attractive outlook, but may also slowly but surely be killing you.

Did you know that the average woman ingests a total of 24 mg of lip products a day? It’s what is in the lipstick and lip gloss that can become an issue worth worrying about. Furthermore, those who constantly reapply may be eating over 80 mg a day, greatly increasing the danger faced. How to lower the risk? Blot any lipstick with a tissue after putting it on.

Building on a previous article outlining the study and providing safety tips concerning the use of cosmetics, it might be prudent to mention that researchers from the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health studied 32 commonly sold brands of lipstick and lip gloss, finding many forms of metals with potentially toxic amounts, especially when it comes to younger children. Playing with Mama’s red lipstick might just make your little one very, very sick. The frightening part is that there was no clear pattern in brand, color, type or price that would indicate toxic levels.

This means that nearly any cosmetic piece picked up from any drug store can contain trace amounts of metals that might be slightly too much for your body to handle.

The metals found in lipsticks

• Lead was found in 75% of the tested cosmetics, but at mostly lower than recommended levels, reducing its toxicity.

• Manganese, titanium and aluminum were found in all products.

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• Higher than average amounts of chromium found in 10 of the products. Chromium is a known carcinogen that has been linked by health officials to lung cancer and stomach tumours through inhalation or swallowing of the metal.

• 7 products showed high levels of manganese, which is known to be toxic to the nervous system.

• Cadmium, found in low levels in water, might become too much for the body to handle if combined with the accidental intake of lip products. As a carcinogen, cadmium has also been linked to lung cancer.

Dr. Ken Spaeth, director of the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Center in New York, stated in an email to CBSNews.com that pregnant women are at a heightened risk of causing neurological and cognitive problems for their unborn children, just as the developing brain of young girls is more susceptible to damage from abnormal intake of metal components.

A 2007 study, with a follow-up examination of 400 different types of lipstick or gloss products, found that the brands containing highest traces of lead were L’Oreal, Revlon, Cover Girl, Body Shop, Estee Lauder, Clinique, Burt’s Bees, Sonia Kashuk, and Maybelline, with few pieces from Lancôme and least from Avon, Jafra, Mary Kay, M.A.C. and Elizabeth Arden. These also happen to be some of the most widely used brands among teens and adults alike.

What are some brands with extremely low traces of lead, at least among most of their products?

• Mood Magic
• Iman Cosmetics
• M.A.C.
• Bobbi Brown
• Victoria’s Secret
• Avon
• Wet ‘N Wild
• Stargazer
• Dior
• Tarte

The study does not recommend throwing out those lovely lipsticks and cosmetic products, but it does warn consumers to be careful and buy only that which is deemed safer in comparison to others. Furthermore, keep the use per day to a minimum, lowering amount of metals unwittingly ingested throughout your lifetime.

Additional source: Hepp, N.M.., “Determination of Total Lead in 400 Lipsticks on the U.S. Market Using a Validated Microwave-Assisted Digestion, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometric Method,” Journal of Cosmetic Science, accepted for publication in May/June, 2012, issue.