Lead in Lipstick: Should You Be Concerned?
A recent FDA test found trace amounts of lead in 400 lipsticks. The average amount of lead measured in the lipsticks was 1.11 part per million, while the lipstick with the most lead contained 7.19 parts per million, which is over 275 times the quantity of the metal in the least contaminated product. Just how serious a health problem is this? The opinion of medical experts from both the public and private sector differs decidedly.
According to The Washington Post, the FDA does not view the levels of lead in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. This federal agency contends that since the product is used topically, it is ingested only in very small amounts.
Conversely, The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics expressed concern over the results. Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for this group maintains that even the smallest doses of lead are extremely toxic. Dr. Mark Mitchell of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice explains that lead accumulates in the body over time and applying contaminated lipsticks several times a day can lead to significant exposure to the metal.
The CDC states that too much lead can have an adverse effect on almost every part of the body, CBS News notes. Poisoning from this metal can harm the nervous and muscular system, as well as the reproductive system. Also, it has been associated with kidney damage and lower IQ in children. This agency believes that no quantity of lead is safe, expressing concern especially over the exposure of pregnant women and children to the metal.
Not only does the FDA have a different opinion from the CDC, but opinions from the medical community unassociated with federal agencies differ markedly as well. Dr. Sean Palfrey of the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program in Boston explained that lead is a neurotoxin that can have a detrimental effect on learning, language and behavior. Palfrey elaborates that pregnant women are particularly at risk to harm from lead exposure, as the metal easily crosses the placenta and gains entrance into the fetal brain. On the other hand, Dr. Steven Marcus of New Jersey Poison Control contends that even someone who applies lipstick frequently would be unlikely to ingest a large dose of lead.
The FDA is currently in the process of ascertaining if it is necessary to establish a maximum permitted quantity of lead in lipsticks. In the meantime, those who apply lipstick frequently, especially pregnant women, may want to choose from one of the products containing the lowest amounts of lead. A complete list of the lipsticks tested and the quantities of lead found in them can be accessed on the FDA’s website.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.