Talk about heavy makeup: How about lead-laced lipstick? The toxic heavy metal, which causes nervous system damage and developmental deficits in overexposed children and is also linked to reduced fertility, has been found in several lipsticks from popular brands, according to a report released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC). Lead levels higher than the FDA’s 0.1 part-per-million (ppm) limit for lead in candy were found in L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Dior lipsticks. One more good reason to keep cosmetics out of children’s reach!
The FDA has not established a limit for lead in lipstick. Time for the agency to stop polishing its nails.
One-third of the 33 big-brand lipsticks CSC tested contained lead above FDA’s candy limit. Sixty-one percent contained some amount of lead—which did not appear on ingredient lists. Check the names in your makeup bag, and remember, While CSC couldn’t test all lipsticks, their report gives some welcome specifics, below.
Lightest Lipsticks (less than 0.02 ppm lead)
Avon Ultra Rich Cherry Jubilee
Body Shop Lip Color Garnet
Clinique Long Last Lipstick Merlot
Dior Replenishing Lipcolor Red Premiere
Estee Lauder Maraschino
MAC Matte Lipstick Viva Glam 1
Revlon Superlustrous Love That Red, Superlustrous Bed of Roses, Colorstay Red Velvet
Tarte Inside Out Vitamin Lipstick
Wet N Wild Mega Colors Cherry Blossom
Heaviest Hitters (more than 0.1 ppm lead)
L’Oreal Colour Riche True Red, Colour Riche Classic Wine
Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor Maximum Red, Continuous Color Cherry Brandy
Dior Addict Positive Red
Maybelline Moisture Extreme Cocoa Plum, Moisture Extreme Midnight Red
Peacekeeper Paint Me Compassionate
One brand may have both light and heavy lipsticks because contamination may occur at various points along the sourcing and manufacture chain. CSC is calling for an industry overhaul, and asks consumers to write our representatives to seek removal of lead and other hazardous ingredients in cosmetics (see “parabens,” Word of the Week at www.greenerpenny.com). For the full report, including lipsticks with trace amounts of lead below FDA’s candy levels, see www.safecosmetics.org. For the scoop on lax regulation of toxins in cosmetics and other consumer products, see Mark Schapiro's incisive and informative new book, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power http://chelseagreen.com/2007/items/exposed.