In “Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers,” the FDA lays out the results of an exhaustive analysis of 400 different lipsticks, the majority of which can be found at any local drugstore.
The last study of its kind was conducted in 2007 and since then, the average amount of lead in lipstick has doubled.
For its part, the FDA is still pretty nonplussed.
It’s never implemented a limit for lead in cosmetics (other than lead found in colour additives) and stands by its line that people just don’t ingest enough lipstick in their lifetime to risk any lasting damage.
But activists point to the heightened threat for women who are a pregnant and could theoretically pass lead through their blood stream and to their foetus. Lead has been known to cause neurological, immunological, and endocrine damage and there’s no safe level for child exposure, asserts the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
The campaign is backed by a slew of environmental and health organisations, including the Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Friends of the Earth, and Women’s Voices for the Earth.
“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels,” said campaign spokeswoman Janet Nudelman.
Anti-lead groups often point to the FDA’s limit on lead in candy, which stands at 0.1 parts per million. Some of the lipsticks tested were found to have more than 200 times that amount and only 20 were below the limit at all.
The most-contaminated brand, Maybelline colour Sensation (manufactured by L’Oreal USA) had lead levels 275 times the candy limit and seven times higher than the average lipstick in the FDA’s report, the campaign says.
Chances are you’ll find your favourite brand in the FDA’s list. See how they stacked up here. Pay attention to the number in the last column, which tells you how much lead they contained.
The folks over at CosmetologySchool.org recommend shopping from all-natural cosmetic lines if you’re sweating the whole lead situation.
They suggest Whole Food’s beauty and bath department or checking out Swanson Health Products, which stocks discounted natural products.
These days, you’ll have no problem finding natural or organic brands at the drugstore, either.