Is lipstick safe?

The study authors say that for most adults, there is no reason to toss the lipstick and lipgloss, but the amount of metals found in them does signal the need for more oversight by health regulators.

The study authors say that for most adults, there is no reason to toss the lipstick and lipgloss, but the amount of metals found in them does signal the need for more oversight by health regulators.

by Joanne Henning Tedesco — 

UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health has released a new analysis of the ingredients in lipstick and lipgloss that may cause you to think twice before using these products. Researchers found that you may be adding a bit more than a touch of color or gloss. They tested 32 commonly used lipsticks and lipglosses, and detected lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals, some of whose levels could raise potential health concerns.

Of the 32 products tested, they found that 24, or 75 percent, contained lead, which is known to cause brain, cellular and DNA damage. The study findings were published online May 2, 2013, in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Lipstick and lipgloss are often not blotted with tissue, which is of concern because more of the product is ingested or absorbed by the individual, the study authors said. They found that the average use was defined as a daily ingestion of 24 milligrams of lip makeup per day. Those who applied lip makeup repeatedly could ingest as much as 87 milligrams per day.

High use of these makeup products could result in potential overexposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese as well. Over time, exposure to high concentrations of manganese has been linked to toxicity in the nervous system. Using the acceptable daily intakes derived from this study, the average use of some lipsticks and lipglosses would result in excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. Lead levels detected in the 24 products were generally lower than the acceptable daily intake level. However, these levels still raise concerns for children who sometimes play with makeup.

The study authors say that for most adults, there is no reason to toss the lipstick and lipgloss, but the amount of metals found in them does signal the need for more oversight by health regulators. At present no U.S. standards exist for metal content in cosmetics. The European Union considers cadmium, chromium and lead to be unacceptable ingredients in cosmetic products, the authors noted.

 

Joanne Henning Tedesco is editor of AzNetNews.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 32, Number 3, June/July 2013.

 

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