Lipstick

The FDA has named 400 popular lipstick shades as containing trace amounts of lead in a recent report issued in December 2011, with five of the top worst offenders being L’Oreal products.

Citing the trace levels of lead found in lipstick as “very low and does not pose safety concerns,” the FDA’s analysis found products made by the nation’s top-selling lipstick manufacturers, including L’Oreal, Estee Lauder, Revlon and Maybelline, to contain some of the highest levels of lead.

Currently, there are no government limits on the amount of lead acceptable in personal care or cosmetic products, despite petitions to the FDA from groups such as the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Seeking a maximum allowable limit of no more than 10 parts per million of lead in cosmetics would put the recent report’s findings above the recommended upper limit.

Lead has been regulated by government agencies in a number of categories for decades, from gasoline to paint; and California’s Prop 65 requires manufacturers and businesses to notify consumers when toxic chemicals are present in products. Lead has been found in children’s toys and topical products including diaper rash creams. It’s also found in dishware, handbags and jewelry.

The health risks from lead exposure, which can build up in the body, becoming more toxic over time, include neurological disorders such as hearing loss, fatigue, seizures and neuropathy; digestive disturbances including colic, nausea and constipation; reproductive issues that can cause stillbirths and miscarriages and low sperm count; and more serious conditions including kidney failure and hypertension.

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Image: MuLaN