Originally published November 9 2007
Choose Your Lipstick Wisely - Lead Contamination Widespread
by Cherie Pinto
(NaturalNews) Have you ever thought about what’s in that pretty red stuff you’re putting on your lips? Could it be collagen, beeswax, strawberries, or lead perhaps?
Reports about lipstick containing lead are flooding the media, since the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics conducted a study of 33 lipsticks from store shelves among four U.S. cities and found that over 61% contained lead. Tests revealed levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) limits lead levels in candy to be less than 0.1 ppm, but does not regulate the level of lead in lipstick.
So why should you care? Well, one study estimates that the average woman consumes about 4 to 6 pounds of lipstick a year, from licking her lips and eating it with food. Ever wonder why you need to re-apply after a meal? And men, don’t be complacent if you don’t wear lipstick. How many women have you kissed?
Alarming? Perhaps, considering that there is no safe amount of lead for human consumption. Lead is a neurotoxin. Our bodies do not dispose of lead, rather, lead stays in our systems and builds up over time. So daily consumption, compounded over decades, can lead to toxic levels of lead. This can lead to brain damage, retardation, emotional and behavioral problems, lower IQ levels and learning disorders like ADD. Children and fetuses are at an even higher risk, because lead can cross the placenta and enter the developing brain of the fetus. It is also linked to infertility and miscarriage.
So how does lead get into lipstick anyway? Well, it’s not put there intentionally. There is not a conspiracy among the cosmetics companies to poison lipstick wearers. Lead is found in some colorants. Lead can also become a byproduct from raw materials such as zinc oxide, paraffin and petroleum-based ingredients.
Since the FDA does not currently regulate the amount of lead in lipstick, it is up to the cosmetics companies to establish higher levels of self-regulation. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has urged the FDA to begin regulating lipstick, and is asking the cosmetic companies to reformulate any products that contain lead. The FDA has agreed to conduct an investigation, and according to a spokesperson for the cosmetics industry, cosmetic companies are committed to reducing the levels of lead even further. While a lipstick recall is unlikely, there are plenty of lipsticks on the market that are made without lead.
How can you find out what is in your brand? Despite urban legend, a gold ring will not help. And since lead is not listed on the list of ingredients, and most consumers do not have a scientific laboratory in their homes to do their own testing, this is a tough call. However, you might start by avoiding the guilty culprits. The study found the highest levels of lead in some Cover Girl, L‘Oreal and Christian Dior lipsticks, especially the red shades. To find out if your brand of lipstick was on the lead list, visit SafeCosmetics.org.
About the authorCherie Pinto has served as a features writer for the Winter Haven News Chief under the byline Cherie Pede Riley, and worked as a senior copywriter for First Marketing Company in Fort Lauderdale. She has published a variety of other works in college publications and inspirational collections. She served as editor of Polk Community College's "Isis" magazine, and as editor of Florida Southern College's "The Southern" newspaper. She is presently an independent consultant and area manager for Arbonne International, a health and wellness company with a complete line of nutritionals, anti-aging skin care and other botanically-based personal care products. Visit http://www.youthfountain.myarbonne.com to purchase pure, safe and beneficial personal care products and discover how you can earn financial freedom through Arbonne International.
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