60% Of Lipsticks Contain Lead

Well, this explains a lot about children’s beauty pageants: the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 brand-name lipsticks, including brands like Cover Girl, L’Oreal, and Christian Dior, and are reporting that “61 percent had detectable lead levels of 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm).” One-third of the lipsticks tested had levels higher than 0.1 ppm, the FDA’s safety limit for lead in candy.

The FDA has a pretty low limit for lead in candy for obvious reasons, but the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics says lipstick should be held to the same standards because it is ingested, and because pregnant women are “particularly vulnerable to lead exposure” and “lead has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage.”

A cosmetic trade group counters that the FDA has already set strict limits for lead in lipsticks, and that experts test the makeup thoroughly, and that the amount of lead a woman can get from lipstick “is hundreds of times less than the amount that she would get from eating, breathing and drinking water.” But according to Dr. Mark Mitchell, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice,

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. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure.

The following brands make up the study’s “safe” group of less than .02 ppm, which means you can tart yourself up like there’s no tomorrow with these. But the study did not include every brand on the market, so unless your brand shows up elsewhere on the list, there’s no way to know how much lead it contains. To see the other lipsticks and where they fall in the rankings (apparently the “L” in “L’Oreal” stands for “Lead!”), download the report and jump to page 10.

    Lipsticks with less than 0.02 parts per million (ppm) lead

  • Avon Ultra Color Rich Cherry Jubilee
  • Body Shop Lip Colour Garnet
  • Body Shop Lip Colour Garnet
  • Clinique Long Last Lipstick Merlot
  • Dior Replenishing Lipcolor Red Premiere
  • Estee Lauder Maraschino
  • MAC Matte Lipstick Viva Glam 1
  • Revlon Superlustrous Love That Red
  • Revlon Superlustrous Bed of Roses
  • Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor Red Velvet
  • Tarte Inside Out Vitamin Lipstick
  • Wet N Wild Mega Colors Cherry Blossom
  • Wet N Wild Mega Colors Cherry Blossom

“Lipsticks contain lead, consumer group says” [Reuters]

“A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead In Lipstick” [Campaign for Safe Cosmetics]
(Photo: Getty)