Dear Lipstick: You Know That You're Toxic

Posted on October 12, 2007

Today we can't get a song out of our heads: yes, it's "Toxic," one of our favorite Britney Spears songs:

With a taste of your lips
I'm on a ride
You're toxic
I'm slipping under
With a taste of
poison paradise
I'm addicted to you
Don't you know that
you're toxic

And why would we be singing that song today? Well, because random tests on 33 popular lipsticks showed that quite a few of them are full of lead. You remember lead from history class, right? Many aristocratic Romans suffered from lead poisoning because they used lead pipes in their famous baths. That caused a host of ailments, including infertility, gout, cancer, reduced IQ, kidney damage and neurological damage. Oh yes, and it causes major birth defects in fetuses and brain damage in children.

Stacy Malkan of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics told ABC News, "It's unconscionable that women should have to worry about lead in lipstick." She also says, "We want the companies to immediately reformulate their products to get the lead out and ... ultimately, really we need to change the laws and force these companies to be accountable to women's health."

A recent study by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration found 400 popular lipstick brands contain lead.

The FDA has no guidelines for the amount of lead that can be used in cosmetics. The researchers used as a guideline the allowable level of lead in candy in the U.S., which is as close to none as you can get. Unfortunately, Dior Addict had a higher concentration of lead. LVMH (which owns Christian Dior and Louis Vuitton), said that it doesn't add lead to its lipstick (it's a poison, so that's good!) but it is a byproduct of certain pigments. There is no safe level of lead for humans and over years, a woman can ingest enough lead to cause problems, according to experts.

Because many lipsticks had almost no lead (such as MAC Matte Lipstick Viva Glam and Revlon Colorstay Lipcolor in Red Velvet, for example) it is possible to reformulate all lipsticks so that they don't contain lead yet still have a bright red color.

The cosmetics companies need to reformulate immediately. There is just no excuse for having any amount of lead in lipstick. Period. You can read more about all the horrible things in your makeup at Safecosmetics.org.



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