Thursday, May 3, 2012

Lead in your Lipstick

Dangerous chemicals may be in your cosmetics and personal care products. 1200 of these types of chemicals have been banned in Europe. The US has only banned 10. Formaldehyde in hair products and lead in your lipstick for instance. Lead has been in lipstick for years.  But, why is lead there and not listed on the ingredient label you ask? 

The red is the culprit. Lead is in the dye that is used to give lipstick its color. Don't think you are safe because your lip color is not red. Red is used to mix many colors. Some dyes approved by the FDA contain lead. The FDA allows it because the amounts are small. F&C Red #6 is a red that contains lead. It cannot contain more than 20 parts per million of lead. It also cannot contain more than 3 parts per million of arsenic and no more than 1 part per million of mercury.

Food, such as candy, can contain the very same colorant. The FDA has regulatory standards for the amount of dye in candy but has not made them for lipstick. They do not consider the levels of lead in lipstick a safety concern. Only a thin layer is applied to the lips. In a recent test, Maybelline (L'Oreal) Color Sensation Pink Petal contained the highest amount of lead of the lipsticks tested. 

What can you do? Check the ingredients list. Look for red #6. Look for a short list of ingredients and also look for ingredients you know and can actually pronounce. Try a natural line of cosmetics such as Bare Minerals. Keep in mind though, a natural brand will most likely use carmine for red color. Carmine is made from crushed beetles.  

Click here to view an FDA lipstick Q&A.

Have a beautiful day!

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