The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has just released a report on the safety of lipsticks sold in stores in 2007. This report found that 61% of the top selling brands of lipstick sold were found to have some level of lead. The amounts ranged from 0.03 to 0.65 ppm (parts per million). The FDA has no limit on lead levels in lipsticks but recently designated that candy should have no more than 0.10 ppm of lead due to possible lead toxicity in children leading to learning and language disabilities. Over 1/3 of the lipsticks tested in the study went over the FDA level set for an ingestible food. The most contaminated brands were L'Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior. It seems that price had no impact on the results of the testing, drugstore brands and more expensive brands both had the same likelihood of having high lead levels in the lipsticks.
Lead is a documented neurotoxin and accumulated amounts in women who then become pregnant can easily transfer through the placenta and affect the developing brain of the fetus. Lead is not easily excreted by the body and thus accumulates in your organs such as liver, kidneys, brain and joints. Many of my patients are astounded at the amounts of lead they excrete in a urine heavy metal challenge test and ask me where they might have gotten this heavy metal. Lipstick can be one of the answers, in addition to water, paint dust, pollution, children's toys etc. Some known effects of lead include:
- the nervous system leading to things like anxiety and depression
- the articular system leading to arthritis
- the muscles leading to fibromyalgia
- the blood vessels leading to hypertension (high blood pressure)
- the brain leading to memory loss and focusing problems
Find out if your cosmetics are safe
The Environmental Working Group developed a cosmetic database which tests and rates common cosmetics and household products for safety. This database is very useful for you to research your commonly used cosmetics, lotions, perfumes etc. to ascertain your exposure level and to learn more about what you may be inadvertently putting into your body.
For the full report published by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, you can download and read a copy of "A Poison Kiss" from their website.