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  QUESTION: Can a facial mask have levels of lead in it? 29 Oct 2002, Northern Territory Australia

We are trialling some clay to be used as a facial mask which has come from a barite mine in NT. The heavy metal test we had done have come back with levels of lead in the clay. Can a facial mask have levels of lead in it? If so, what is the maximum level of lead?


ANSWER: 17 Aug 2003

Dear Glenys,

Firstly, I would like to apologise for the delay in responding to your query, some of the reasons for this are explained below.The answer to your query is that the maximum level of ALL heavy metals in a cosmetic product is 20 parts per million (ppm).

The Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS) has been gradually losing Australian state and federal government funding and thus staff for the past 4 years and is now operated by only one lead advisor, Elizabeth O'Brien.

A team of volunteers is being organised to web-publish (on the unanswered GLASS queries for which permission for web publication has been given.

In the meantime, we will be trying to find funding to acquire more lead advisory staff and would appreciate any assistance you can give to that process.

Can you please reply to this email to say:

  1. If you found an answer to your query already and let us know where you found it.
  2. If you support the funding of the Global Lead Advice and Support Service and your reasons.

Apologies again for the delay in answering to your email. Elizabeth O'Brien despite working for virtually no wages, and working around the clock, has not managed to answer all the queries that come in, has been acknowledged by the United Nations Association of Australia (see, winning the World Environment Day Award for Outstanding Service to the Environment.

Much appreciated and I look forward to your reply.
Yours Sincerely
Anthony Montague
Volunteer, Global Lead Advice and Support Service (GLASS)

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