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QUESTION: LIPSTICK ALERT - US FDA rules are not enforced in the rest of the world & Red Earth has not answered this accusation - 22 Feb 2007 Victoria, Australia

Do you have any information on lead in makeup or lipstick. I was sent by email the gold ring/lipstick test and wonder if that is a valid way of testing for lead in lipstick. I am a health educator working on curriculum around toxic body products. thankyou eva‍

ANSWER: 22 Feb 2007


Update 2012 - See: and,,9780143172505,00.html


Dear Eva,

My answer to you is similar to the answer I gave to a Professor who recently asked me the same question. The usual answer to this enquiry is "all the mythbuster websites like Urban Legends Reference Pages (ULRP) - - say things like "Status: False...what goes into cosmetics these days is strictly regulated, controlled, and fully understood." To me, the only proof is in the pudding and although the email could be entirely bogus, I feel damn certain that if you went and bought lipsticks in Bangladesh or Malaysia and tested them, chances are you'd find unhealthy levels of lead. And Red Earth has still not replied to my email so it's possible they have something to hide. Please see all my previous correspondence on the issue below.


Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien


From: A university professor?

To: A member of Leadnet listserv

Sent: Thursday, August 03, 2006 9:09 AM

Subject: Fwd: FW: Lipstick Alert -

Can you confirm or deny this?

I have never read anything scientific about this - have you?  We all know about kohl etc.

Kind regards



From: The LEAD Group

To: Leadnet listserv, US

Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:31 PM

Subject: LIPSTICK ALERT - US FDA rules are not enforced in the rest of the world

Dear Leadnetters,

I know many of you will have looked at this email (at the bottom) and thought their Q&A section did not actually state that they don't put lead in their products.

Maybe other LeadNetters could write to the other lipstick manufacturers listed or search their websites for at least the statement that there is no lead (or only trace levels) in their lipsticks. As far as I can work out even in the US, it is the manufacturers and suppliers responsibility to ensure only safe ingredients are used in cosmetics and lead acetate is only specifically controlled as a color additive plus there are limits of 10ppm or 20ppm on various other lead compounds as color additives. So lead as a non-color ingredient in lipstick, by my understanding is not banned by the FDA. Manufacturers just need to take responsibility that they are not using an unsafe ingredient and this presumably includes all lead compounds.

Any comments would be appreciated.


Elizabeth O'Brien



----- Original Message -----

From: The LEAD Group


Sent: Friday, February 17, 2006 6:56 PM

Subject: Voluntary industry controls on lead in cosmetics

Dear Red Earth,

thanks for the FAQ section of your website but it would be good if you could add to the following answer (see below) whether or not your products contain lead. Can you at least email me the answer because I would like to quote your answer in my report to the Australian federal health department. The report is about overseas regulatory controls and voluntary industry controls on lead in cosmetics. If you have any independently certified lead analysis results on any of your products, especially the lip gloss discussed on 545 websites as containing or not containing lead, and could send me those, I'd be particularly grateful.

Do red earth products contain lead?

All red earth products are formulated in collaboration with professional

contract laboratories. These laboratories operate to the highest ethical standards. Our products are manufactured in accordance with Good Manufactured Practice principles using strictly controlled processes. All ingredients used in red earth's formulae are approved for use by the FDA and they comply with European regulations. Ingredients are listed on our packaging. red earth will continue its practice of formulating with approved raw materials in strict compliance with all legislation regarding cosmetic ingredients and in partnership with highly reputable laboratories. [ - Accessed 17th Feb 2006]

Thanking you in anticipation

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien

Manager, Global Lead Advice and Support Service


From: A member of Leadnet

To: Leadnet listserv

Sent: Thursday, February 23, 2006 4:27 AM

Subject: [Leadnet] Fwd: LIPSTICK ALERT

Good Morning, have you heard of this? Could someone respond to this email.


From: Lots of people

Sent: Wednesday, 2 August 2006 3:29 PM

To: Millions of people!!!

Subject: FW: Lipstick Alert


Lipstick Alert!!!!!!!!!!!!

If there is a female you care anything about, share this with her. I did!!!!! I am also sharing this with the males on my email list, because they need to tell the females THEY care about as well! Recently a brand called "Red Earth" decreased their prices from $67 to $9.90 It contained lead. Lead is a chemical which causes cancer. The Brands which contain lead are:




4. Y.S.L



7. RED EARTH (Lip Gloss)

8. CHANEL (Lip Conditioner)


The higher the lead content, the greater the chance of causing cancer. After doing a test on lipsticks, it was found that the Y.S.L. lipstick contained the most amount of lead.

Watch out for those lipsticks which are supposed to stay longer. If your lipstick stays longer, it is because of the higher content of lead.

Here is the test you can do yourself:

1. Put some lipstick on your hand.

2. Use a Gold ring to scratch on the lipstick.

3. If the lipstick color changes to black then you know the lipstick contains lead.

Please send this information to all your girlfriends, wives and female family members.

This information is being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

Dioxin Carcinogens causes cancer, especially breast cancer

Update 2012 - See: and,,9780143172505,00.html

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