Four hundred of the nation's most popular lipsticks tested positive for lead, according to a report by the Food and Drug Administration. The test confirmed, and expanded on, an earlier analysis by the FDA from 2007.
The lipsticks tested had an average of 1.11 parts-per-million (ppm) of lead, though some had significantly higher concentrations. L'Oréal USA, which owns makeup brands L'Oréal and Maybelline, had five of the top 10 offenders, with Maybelline's Color Sensational in Pink Petal having the highest lead concentration at 7.19 ppm.
Reports of lead in lipstick arose in the 1990s. In October 2007, the FDA tested 20 lipsticks for lead levels, and found an average of 1.07 ppm of lead. It followed up with a more thorough test in 2010, the results of which were released on Tuesday.
Despite the lead levels the FDA found, they said consumers should not be concerned.
We have assessed the potential for harm to consumers from use of lipstick containing lead at the levels found in both rounds of testing, the FDA said on its website. Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern.
They do not, however, impose limits on the amount of lead in cosmetics.
Lead is commonly found in house paint that was made before 1978 and older plumbing and pipes. Ingestion of large amounts of lead can cause lead poisoning. In children, lead poisoning can cause behavior problems, kidney damage and reduced IQ. In adults, lead poisoning manifests as abdominal pain, aggressive behavior, headache, muscle weakness and in severe cases, seizure and coma.
The lipsticks that contained the largest amount of lead are:
1) Maybelline Color Sensational, Pink Petal - 7.19 ppm
2) L'Oréal Colour Riche, Volcanic - 7.00 ppm
3) NARS Semi-Matte, Red Lizard - 4.93 ppm
4) Cover Girl Queen Collection Vibrant Hues Color, Ruby Remix - 4.92 ppm
5) NARS Semi-Matte, Funny Face - 4.89 ppm
6) L'Oréal Colour Riche, Tickled Pink - 4.45 ppm
7) L'Oréal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor, Heroic - 4.41 ppm
8) Cover Girl Continuous Color, Warm Brick - 4.41ppm
9) Maybelline Color Sensational, Mauve Me - 4.23 ppm
10) Stargazer Shade #103 - 4.12 ppm
Want to see if your favorite shade is on the list? Go here. To find your shade, press Control+F to bring up your browser's search function, and type in the name of your lipstick.