Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Says Lead In Lipsticks
Top brands L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior test positive for lead, as Campaign for Safe Cosmetics find lead in lipsticks.
Toys made in China aren't the only products laced with dangerous heavy metals: lipstick manufactured in the United States and used daily by millions of American women also contains surprisingly high levels of lead, according to new product tests released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis. Top findings include:
More than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61 percent) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient.
One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy - a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Lipstick products, like candy, are directly ingested into the body. Nevertheless, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, which fits with the disturbing absence of FDA regulatory oversight and enforcement capacity for the $50 billion personal care products industry.
The good news is that the tests show it is possible to make lipstick without lead: 39 percent of lipsticks tested had no detectable levels of lead, and cost doesn't seem to be a factor. Some less expensive brands such as Revlon ($7.49) had no detectable levels of lead, while the more expensive Dior Addict brand ($24.50) had higher levels than some other brands.
Among the top lipstick brands testing positive for lead 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 proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, reduced school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development. Lead has also been linked to 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."
"Repeated, daily exposures to low levels of lead add up - and they add up on top of lead from paint and drinking water, which is especially a problem in low income communities. There's no excuse for lead in lipstick or toys. Companies should act immediately to reformulate lead-containing products," Malkan said.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling on the industry to reformulate products to remove lead, to require suppliers to guarantee that raw materials are free of lead and other contaminants, and to join the campaign in demanding that the FDA more strictly regulate personal care products.
The full report, "A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick," including complete test results, is posted at www.SafeCosmetics.org