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QUESTION: What brands of lipstick contain lead? 03 Dec 2007 USA

 What brands of lipstick contain lead?

   ME. Royer‍

ANSWER: 04 Dec 2007

Dear Madam,

We don't have any funding to pay for testing any brands of lipstick for lead but a US non-government coalition of organisations has published a report in which 33 brands (a small portion of the market) were tested. You should ask your state or federal agency in charge of cosmetics to test any brands you are particularly concerned about, if they don't appear on the list of those already tested.

Please find below two online news articles about the findings, as well as the link to the actual report of test results.

Yours Sincerely

Elizabeth O'Brien,


From: Karen Jacobs, Reuters

Published October 11, 2007 07:12 PM

Lipsticks Contain Excessive Lead, Tests Reveal  [Please visit the original website to view the whole article. - Mod.]

ATLANTA (Reuters) - Lipsticks tested by a U.S. consumer rights group found that more than half contained lead and some popular brands including Cover Girl, L'Oreal and Christian Dior had more lead than others, the group said on Thursday.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said tests on 33 brand-name red lipsticks by the Bodycote Testing Group in Santa Fe Spring, California, found that 61 percent had detectable lead levels of 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm).

Lipstick, like candy, is ingested. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a coalition of public health, environmental and women's groups, said the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick.

One-third of the lipsticks tested contained an amount of lead that exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy -- a standard established to protect children from ingesting lead, the group said. Thirty-nine percent of the lipsticks tested had no discernible lead, it said.

The coalition said that some less expensive brands it had tested, such as Revlon, had no detectable levels of lead, while the more expensive Dior Addict brand had higher levels than some other brands. The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association trade group said in a statement that lead was a naturally occurring element that was not intentionally added to cosmetics.

The FDA has "set strict limits for lead levels allowed in the colors used in lipsticks, and actually analyze most of these to ensure they are followed," the association's statement said. "The products identified in the (CSC) report meet these standards

From: Paul Schaefer, ENN Published December 3, 2007 11:02 AM

Sens. Kerry, Boxer and Feinstein call on FDA to Establish Maximum Level for Lead in Lipstick  [Please visit the original website to view the whole article. - Mod.]

WASHINGTON - Senators John Kerry, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are urging the Food and Drug Administration to test a wide range of lipstick brands for the presence of lead, to publicly report their results, and to limit lead in lipstick and other cosmetics products to "the lowest detectable levels found in laboratory tests."

The FDA told the Associated Press in October that the agency would "look into" the laboratory results of lead in lipstick disclosed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. More than six weeks later, FDA has not released any data.

"We commend the U.S. Senate for pushing FDA to take action. By remaining silent on this issue, FDA is not protecting the health of the American public," said Cindy Luppi, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

"Dangerous levels of lead in lipstick is the latest reminder that insufficient safeguards at the FDA pose real risks to everyday Americans," Kerry said in a statement. "There has been a continuous flow of unnerving news in recent months about the FDA's clear lack of oversight and inspection. Washington is gambling with our health, whether we are aware of it or not. It's time for the FDA to start taking this responsibility more seriously."

Sen. Kerry's press release can be found at

Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth.

Source: Campaign for Safe Cosmetics


Boston Globe. Full article at: 

Lead tests raise red flag for lipsticks Hazardous levels found in one-third of market samples

By John C. Drake, Globe Staff October 11, 2007

Parents worried about the dangers of lead in their children's toys, bibs, and homes are about to be confronted with a new potential hazard: their lipstick.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is releasing today product test results that found that more than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested contained lead. The lead levels in one-third of the lipstick samples, purchased from retailers in four cities, including Boston, exceeded 0.1 parts per million, which is the federal lead limit for candy.

The lead levels varied independently of the lipstick's cost, according to the coalition of public health and consumer rights' groups. "There are hazardous levels of lead in lipstick," said Stacy Malkan, a cofounder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. "These tests are a wake-up call to the industry."

The lead levels should not concern healthy women without children in their homes, said Joel Tickner, a professor of environmental health at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell. But use of lead-tainted lipstick by pregnant women could lead to lead exposure for the fetus, and lead exposure for children who use lipstick is also a concern, he said.

"These levels of lead are not likely to cause poisoning," said Tickner, a specialist on exposure to toxic chemicals. "They are likely to be cumulative to other exposures and can cause subtle neurological effects you can't trace back to a single exposure." [snip]

The findings follow numerous recent nationwide recalls of children's toys and jewelry found to have excessive levels of lead. "There seems to be an almost endless list of products that infant children and pregnant women are exposed to that put them at risk for lead poisoning," said Dr. Sean Palfrey, a pediatrician at Boston Medical Center and medical director of the Boston Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

"If you have a mom who uses a lipstick which has some lead in it and then she gets pregnant, she may be slightly poisoned and can poison her fetus," he said. "Then the baby is born and may have an elevated lead level, which is dangerous."

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there is no safe level of lead exposure for children and has called for eliminating lead hazards in children's environments. But the federal government has not cautioned about lead content in lipstick. [snip]

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling on manufacturers to reformulate their products to remove lead and is calling on the Food and Drug Administration to more closely regulate the content of cosmetics. But she cautioned that these tests should not be taken as "the definitive word" on lead in lipstick. "It's a tiny percentage of the market in lipstick," she said. "Our test identified a problem in the industry. There's lead in lipstick that doesn't need to be there and shouldn't be there."

Link to PDF document containing test results for specific brands:

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