“Lead in Lipsticks” hits the headlines again!
This issue has been popping up in “studies” since the 90’s, with a major “pop” hitting in ’07 when the FDA dubiously recognized 20 lipsticks for their high lead levels. Well, once again, this ugly “hidden” truth crops up as the FDA released its analytical results on the amount of lead (a known neurotoxin) found in up to 400 mainstream lipsticks. (YUM!!!) The biggest offender is L’Oreal. They make five of the top 10, including #1 and #2. (Well done, L’Oreal!) The list continues with Maybelline, NARS (Shiseido), Cover Girl (P&G), Stargazer, and…wait for it…Burt’s Bees, aka Clorox! (Oh, Burt – say it ain’t so! They were #17!) Incredulously, the FDA says they do not believe this poses a safety concern, and will decide if an “upper limit” recommendation is needed after evaluating the allowable levels of lead in lipsticks. (It’s kinda like the allowable levels of filth in processed foods. What’s the harm in a few rat droppings, mystery hairs and a little lead between friends, huh?!?) The EWG/Skin Deep did their own study back in 2007. They tested 33 red lipsticks and found two-thirds of them contained more lead than the amount allowed in candy. (Ok, does that “allowable lead in candy” part alarm anyone else?!?)
Bottom line…”They” are maintaining it is safe and that there is no concern. After all, the average content of lead in lipstick (1.11 ppm from a range found between 0.026 to 7.19 ppm) was an exposure rate 1,000 times less than that found in the daily consumption of water meeting EPA drinking water standards. (Oh good, now I feel comforted! Reminds me why I am a devoted filtered water drinker!!!)
Of course, no one is claiming companies are adding lead to lipsticks (or any other cosmetics) intentionally. Lead is a substance that naturally occurs in nature, just like arsenic, cadmium and other fun heavy metals. But sometimes things get a little “heavy” when there is a need for a desired effect. So, it can be the price you pay for getting that 24-hour stay power FD&C red dye lipstick; or the water-proof, wind-tunnel proof, wrap-to-the-back-of-your-head glamour lash look mascara, or the spray on paint foundation that also doubles as wall patch! I guess the point is…stay informed, read your labels, and if the color lasts for days (and glows in the dark!), you have to ask yourself…why? And you have to ask yourself is it worth it?!? Is it worth the accumulated body burden? Or is it a better choice to give your body a break, and go a little softer (and far less toxic) with (say, I don’t know)… DeVita’s absolute LIPS sheer natural flower wax lipsticks? (shameless plug!). They are on special this month at 20% off in honor of Lead Free Lips Month (ok – I just made that one up, but it might have merit!).
So, it really is all about choices. And on those (hopefully rare!) days when you feel that it is necessary to choose heavy metal hurricane-proof make-up that last for days, then just make sure that you don’t wear it on the same days that you plan to drink tap water or eat candy – cuz your head just might explode!