Lead in Lipstick - NBC Southern California

Lead in Lipstick

Lipstick lead is not a new concern, the FDA noted. From the 1990’s to 2007, labs have suggested that traces of lead in lipstick may be something to explore.

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    Lead in Lipstick
    Catherine Blair Pfander

    Maybelline, L’Oreal and the Cover Girl earned a dubious place in top-ten lipsticks with regards to lead content.

    About 400 lipsticks were found to contain a slightly-more-than average amount of lead, according to a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) survey. But officials said the findings are not indicative of a safety concern.

    "Just because there's lead in lipstick does not mean that there's a danger. It takes a lot of lead over a long period of time to cause symptoms or damage," according to Dr. Bruce Hensel.

    Lipstick contains an average 1.11 ppm of lead, according to the latest study that looked at 400 types of lip color bought between February and July 2010.

    Lead in Lipstick

    [LA] Lead in Lipstick
    The FDA tested 400 lipstick shades purchased from retail stores between Feb. and July of 2010 and found that several brands, including Maybelline, Cover Girl and L'Oreal were contaminated with lead.
    (Published Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012)

    That figure is close to the average of 1.07 ppm found in the FDA’s initial survey that tested brands purchased in 2007, when Revlon and Cover Girl (twice) made the top three.

    Results from the latest lipstick-lead survey ranged from .026 ppm to 7.19 ppm, and the chosen brands were based on the market share of the products’ parent companies.

    Among those cosmetics tested were lipsticks made by Estee Lauder, the Body Shop, Clinique and Avon.

    Several health advocacy groups, including the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, say the FDA needs to do more to study the effects of lead in lipstick.

    "They've spent the past five years looking at what are the levels of lead in lipstick, but they haven't done any kind of health impact study to look at what are the exposures women are getting from lipstick," according to Stacy Malkan, of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

    Lipstick lead is not a new concern, the FDA noted. From the 1990’s to 2007, labs have suggested that traces of lead in lipstick may be something to explore.

    It’d been so long since lipstick was last examined, the FDA decided to follow up on the lead reports that, they said, would periodically surface.

    Because lipstick is ingested in such small doses, the lead content does not pose a safety hazard, according to FDA and health officials.

    Still, the regulating authority is considering recommending a cap for lead in lipstick, a limit that is not yet in place.

    For a list of the top test results, click here.

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