In 2007 EWG reported that the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) tested 33 brands of lipstick from various locations in the Northeast. Two television news programs, KCBS and Pittsburgh’s WPXI, both tested several brands as well.
The results were shocking. They found over two-thirds had lead levels higher than the FDA’s allowable level for lead in candy (.1 parts per million (ppm)! The brands that did contain lead included:
L’Oreal Colour Riche True Red – 0.65 ppm
Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor Maximum Red – 0.56 ppm
Dior Addict Positive Red – 0.21 ppm
Burt’s Bee also contained lead, but the founder maintained that the levels should not be of concern.
So how much is too much lead in your lipstick for it to be of concern? For me, any level!
Lipstick is easily absorbed through the lips and can be ingested as we lick our lips, or eat food while wearing lipstick. As lead gets into the blood stream, it is stored in organs, tissues, bones and teeth. If it continues to accumulate in these areas in the body, even in small amounts, it can cause permanent damage to the central nervous system, especially the brain.
The problem stems back to the fact that the FDA does not regulate ingredients in personal care products or cosmetics.
The limits the FDA has set for lead include the maximum allowable dosage levels of (MADL) of .1 ppm in candy, .5 ppm in food and 10 to 20 ppm in FD&C color additives, which according to EWG may be used in color lipsticks. According to FDA guidelines, lead does not have to be listed on the label since it has been added to the color.
For years, we have been warned against lead in paint in old homes and toys purchased from China. Now we need to be careful of cosmetics purchased in stores or online, whether they’re made in the U.S.A., China, or anywhere else in the world.
If you are looking for a red lipstick, that is guranteed not to contain lead, use Cleure Lipstick. Click on the following link to be directed to that page: