Warning: Your Lipstick Might Contain Lead
I’m not much of a lipstick wearer, but for those who are, heed this: New tests by the Food and Drug Administration reveal an uptick in lead content in popular lipsticks. In 2007, when the government agency first tested lipsticks—it looked at 20 in all—the highest amount of lead it found was 3.06 parts per million (ppm). The latest survey expanded the pool, testing 400 lipsticks. This time, a Maybelline Color Sensation shade called Pink Petal took the cake with a lead count of 7.19 ppm. Coming in a close second was a L’Oréal Color Riche shade called Volcanic with 7 ppm. The average was 1.11 ppm; the 2007 average was 1.07 ppm.
While the FDA says the lead levels are not a safety concern, consumer groups are wary. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent a letter to the FDA last week arguing that lead builds up in a person’s system with continued exposure, so applying lipstick several times a day, everyday, is an obvious concern, especially for pregnant or nursing women. Because the FDA currently has no limit set for the amount of lead that lipstick can contain, the group is urging them to specify one—and stick to it.
By comparison, the EPA sets a lead limit for drinking water at 15 ppm, with a goal of lowering it to zero, reports Forbes. So to see an uptick in lead in lipstick is, well, scary. And when you look at the disparity between lipsticks with the highest lead content (7.19 ppm) and the lowest (<0.026 ppm in a Wet ‘n Wild shade), it makes you wonder if those at the higher end of the spectrum are doing anything to control the lead content in their products. I mean, if Wet ‘n Wild can do it, why can’t Maybelline?
Check out the full list of lipsticks here. And tell us: Does the possibility of lead exposure make you want to swear off the stuff?