The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics did research on over 400 lipsticks on the market right now, and found that MOST LIPSTICKS TESTED POSITIVE FOR LEAD!!!! Oh no!
The CSC co-founder says that there is no safe amount of exposure to lead, and that women need to protect themselves! Yes we do!
The FDA used a new analytical method to look for lead in lipstick. The FDA’s first study, released in 2009, found lead in 20 samples of red lipstick at levels up to 3.06 ppm. An expanded analysis of 400 lipsticks by FDA found lead levels up to 7.19 ppm – more than 70 times higher than the FDA’s limit for lead in candy of 0.1 ppm, a limit set by FDA to protect children from lead exposure. The candy limit is based on the reasoning that 0.1 ppm is the lowest lead level that can be achieved in candy.
The most terrifying part of the study was that five of the top nine worst offenders were L'Oreal lipsticks! L'Oreal defends themselves by saying that the FDA says there is no need to panic over these levels. I can tell you, the CSC and MYSELF? We disagree!!
So, should you ditch? Well - you may want to!
I grabbed some Q&A from CSC's website about lead, and what I found most terrifying is how lead stays in your system and builds up over time, which is a huge concern of women in child-bearing years, because they can expose their unborn and young children, which is extremely hazardous!
Q: If lead is dangerous primarily for children, why do we have to worry if it’s in products marketed to women?
A: In order to protect children from unnecessary lead exposures, it is necessary to protect pregnant women, and all women of childbearing age. Teenagers and young girls using lipstick are exposing themselves to lead, which builds up in the body and stays in their bodies for years.
“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,” according to Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.
Lead is also linked to infertility and miscarriage
Q: Why does lipstick contain lead?
A: Lead is a considered to be a contaminant in lipstick, and therefore it is not listed on labels. Lipstick can become contaminated with lead in two ways: raw materials used in the lipstick may be contaminated with lead, or the pigments (paints) used in the lipstick contain lead.
FDA noted that the lipsticks containing the most lead came from three manufacturers. The CSC study also found that a few manufacturers consistently had the highest lead levels. This indicates that some companies are using better manufacturing practices than others.
Q: What can people do to avoid lead in lipstick?
A: Unfortunately, there is no way to know how much lead is in your favorite lipstick. We must call on FDA to immediately set standards to require manufacturers to reduce lead to the lowest achievable levels, and call on FDA to make public the full results of its study, including the brands tested and how much lead they contained.
Q: Are there government standards regulating lead in lipstick?
A: There are no standards in the United States limiting lead in lipstick. It is legal for lipsticks sold in the U.S. to contain any amount of lead, without any notice to consumers.
Lead is banned from all cosmetics sold in the European Union.
Lead is listed under California’s Proposition 65 list of chemicals known to cause cancer or birth defects, meaning that manufacturers of products containing certain levels of lead must notify consumers of risk. The state has said 5 ppm is the actionable lead level in lipstick. However, the Prop 65 calculations do not include the latest science on neurotoxicity, which shows that lead can cause brain damage in children and fetuses at extremely low levels.
Canada has a draft recommendation to allow up to 10 ppm lead in lipstick. This level, which is only a draft and has not been finalized, is much too high. Obviously, manufacturers can do much better than that, and government standards should require manufacturers to make lipstick with the lowest achievable levels of lead.
Q: What’s next?
A: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, with your help, will continue to pressure FDA to require best practices of manufacturers and require them to make the safest lipstick with the lowest possible levels of lead. We must also pressure FDA to fully disclose the results of their lead in lipstick study, including the names of the brands tested matched with lead levels found in each product. Get involved by writing to L’Oreal to demand cleaner products, and joining our action network.
It would seem that because lead is a contaminant, the presence of lead in a lipstick has much to do with the manufacturing facility. It would appear that as of right now, these brands are considered 'safe' from lead exposure based on their manufacturing processes:
MAC (matte only)
There are certainly more, but these were the ones that passed several studies since 2007.
You can get more information about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics here, on their website: