WebMD Medical News
Louise Chang, MD
Oct. 12, 2007 -- Several popular brands of lipstick contain lead, a
coalition of health and environmental groups say.
The group reports that it found lead in 20 of 33 lipstick brands it tested.
They include popular brands like L'Oreal, Dior, and Cover Girl.
"The cosmetics industry has a lead problem," says Stacy Malkan, a
spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The group consists of a
handful of environmental groups and other groups including the Breast Cancer
The brands with the highest lead levels included:
Malkan says 39% of the red lipsticks in the sample contained no lead.
"It's obviously possible to make red lipstick without lead. The companies
should be doing that," she tells WebMD.
In a statement, John Bailey, executive vice president of the Cosmetic,
Toiletry, and Fragrance Association, calls the levels of lead found in
cosmetics "negligible" and said the element is not intentionally added
The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmetics
is 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing, and
drinking water that meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water
standards," the statement says.
"It's not a helluva lot of lead, like what's been reported in lead
paint on toys imported from China," says John Rosen, MD, a pediatrician
and lead exposure expert from Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New
"But from a public health perspective, there's no rationale for a
consumer product to have any lead at all," he tells WebMD.
Cosmetics have been known for years to contain small amounts of lead. Some
brands advertise lead-free ingredients, while others continue to contain the
SOURCES: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: "A Poison Kiss: The Problem of
Lead in Lipstick." Stacy Malkan, spokeswoman, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.
John Bailey, executive vice president, Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance
Association. John Rosen, MD, professor of pediatrics, Children's Hospital at
Montefiore, New York.
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