Group Says Lipsticks Contain Lead

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Oct. 12, 2007 — Several popular brands of lipstick contain lead, acoalition of health and environmental groups say.

The group reports that it found lead in 20 of 33 lipstick brands it tested.They include popular brands like L’Oreal, Dior, and Cover Girl.

“The cosmetics industry has a lead problem,” says Stacy Malkan, aspokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The group consists of ahandful of environmental groups and other groups including the Breast CancerFund.

The brands with the highest lead levels included:

  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “True Red,” containing 0.65 parts per million(ppm) of lead
  • L’Oreal Colour Riche “Classic Wine,” containing 0.58 ppm
  • Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor “Maximum Red,” containing 0.56ppm
  • Dior Addict “Positive Red,” containing 0.21 ppm

Malkan says 39% of the red lipsticks in the sample contained no lead.”It’s obviously possible to make red lipstick without lead. The companiesshould be doing that,” she tells WebMD.

In a statement, John Bailey, executive vice president of the Cosmetic,Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, calls the levels of lead found incosmetics “negligible” and said the element is not intentionally addedto products.

The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmeticsis 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing, anddrinking water that meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking waterstandards,” the statement says.

‘No Rationale’ for Lead

“It’s not a helluva lot of lead, like what’s been reported in leadpaint on toys imported from China,” says John Rosen, MD, a pediatricianand lead exposure expert from Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in NewYork.

“But from a public health perspective, there’s no rationale for aconsumer product to have any lead at all,” he tells WebMD.

Cosmetics have been known for years to contain small amounts of lead. Somebrands advertise lead-free ingredients, while others continue to contain themetal.

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