Toxic Lipsticks: Study Finds 32 Department, Drugstore Makeup Products Could Be Bad For Your Health

Lipstick
A recent study found that commonly used lipsticks contain possibly dangerous levels of toxic metals.

Color may not be the only thing you’re getting from your lipstick. A new study reported its findings this month that 32 commonly purchased department store and drugstore makeup products contain toxic metals.

Researchers discovered the commonly used, unidentified products contained high levels of potentially dangerous toxic metals including chromium -- which is known to cause stomach tumors -- lead, cadmium, and aluminum, HealthDay.com reported Thursday.

“I would treat these results as applicable to all lipsticks,” said research Katharine Hammond, a professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Calif., Berkeley, who said the findings were not shocking to those who are familiar with cosmetic ingredients.

“Lipsticks and lip glosses often have levels of toxic metals, which approach and exceed acceptable daily doses based on public health guidelines,” said Hammond, recommending lipstick users limit their daily use due to researchers discovering heavy lead contents in 24 of the tested products.

The study suggests parents keep their lip products away from children, who can be more negatively affected by the metals when absorbed or eaten, as opposed to adult users. Hammond said occasional use of the infected products is not lethal, results showing consumers who reapply the cosmetics are more likely to be impacted by the study findings.

“At an average level of use, it’s not likely to be an issue,” she said.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, when products are used as intended, lead levels in lipstick are not dangerous, claiming two separate FDA studies found that lipstick’s low levels of toxins are not overtly harmful.

A 2007 study conducted by the FDA measured lead levels in 20 lipsticks and found that Proctor & Gamble’s Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor 964 Maximum Red had the highest concentration of lead at 3.06 percent; the product has since been discontinued by the retailer. Avon’s Ultra Color Rich U250 Cherry Jubilee was found to contain the lowest percentage of lead with 0.09 percent.

Cosmetics are not currently required by law to obtain premarket FDA approval in terms of lead and metal levels.

“Although we do not believe that the lead content found in our recent lipstick analyses poses a safety concern, we are evaluating whether there may be a need to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick in order to further protect the health and welfare of consumers,” the FDA said.

The study was first published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

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