Lead was once considered a material solely found in paint and other products manufactured before the ’90s. However, many products on the market today contain lead, including children’s toys that were recently pulled from shelves. The dangers of lead toxicity range in severity from vomiting and headaches to memory loss, hypertension and miscarriage.
With so many women who put on lipstick to get a little fabulous for Valentine’s Day, the issue of lipstick containing a small amount of lead was brought to everyone’s attention once again. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) calmed consumers by posting on their website that the amount of lead in lipstick is minimal, and since the product is made for topical use only, there’s not enough in the product to be a cause for concern.
Prior to the FDA putting the rumors regarding the dangers of lipstick to rest, the coalition the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics stated that there is no safe amount of lead, especially when you take into consideration how much lead accumulates in the human body over time. In addition, pregnant women and children may use lipstick, and there’s no way to determine exactly how much lead is safe for either group.
At the beginning of the month, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics suggested to the FDA to enforce a limit on the amount of lead in lipstick. The response to the urgent letter was announced by the FDA soon after in the form of the web post made by administration to inform consumers that there’s no immediate danger in the lead levels. In fact, the pigments in the cosmetics have a cap on the amount of lead in them; however, the cosmetics themselves don’t have any limits implemented at this time.
The consumer group questioned the remarks made by the FDA. This lead to the FDA re-releasing data that was found last year dealing with the levels of lead in 400 different lipsticks. From these findings, the FDA concluded that the average lipstick contains 1.11 ppm of lead. Although lead isn’t an actual ingredient in lipsticks — it’s due to contamination of the raw ingredients — the consumer group still urges the FDA to apply restrictions to the amount of lead in cosmetics. The administration has made no further statements on the subject at this time.