Heavy Metal Mouths?: Study Finds Carcinogens In 32 Commonly Sold Lipsticks

Before you pucker up and slather on your favorite lip lacquer, consider the carcinogens: A new study tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses and found they contain things like lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals. Some of those were present in potentially toxic levels, especially bad news if you’re the type to chew your lip.

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health now want the Food and Drug Administration to “wake up and pay attention,” reports USA Today.

While there have been previous studies showing low levels of certain carcinogens, this study looked at more metals than previous studies and estimated potential health risks based on how often someone uses lipstick and what the concentration of metals is in each kind.

“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue. It’s the levels that matter,” says co-author S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health. And if you keep slapping some of this stuff on, you could run into health problems down the road.

See, some people just end up eating their lipstick if it isn’t blotted by a tissue or say, someone’s face. The adverse health effects would all depend on how often and how heavily you slick the lipsticks or glosses on, note researchers. On average, most people put lipstick on 2.3 times a day and end up eating about 24 milligrams. But heavy users apply it up to 14 times a day and ingest 83 milligrams of that. Tasty.

Average users could just end up getting too much chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. Using lipstick too often could mean overexposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese, says the study. What about our old foe, lead? That’s not “of most concern,” because it’s usually in levels lower than the amount that’s okay to ingest per day.

That being said, letting your child play dress up should be discouraged because kids shouldn’t be exposed to lead at all, the study’s co-author says.

But again, let’s just be clear on this — you’re not going to drop dead just by puckering up, she adds.

“I don’t think people should panic,” she explains. “But if you use it several times every day, you may want to think about it.”

We think you’re pretty no matter what.

Lipstick study opens up concerns about carcinogen [USA Today]