Before You Kiss those Lips..

Ecouterre – Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause learning, behavioral, and other problems, but even the worst offenders aren’t guilty of anything illegal.

Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration suggests a lead limit of 0.1 parts per million for candy, the cosmetics industry isn’t beholden to any such threshold outside of California which recommends a maximum of 5 parts per million and because lead is considered an “unintended” byproduct of the manufacturing process, cosmetics manufacturers aren’t required to declare it on their ingredient labels.

The lead-in-lipstick debate is one that resurfaces once every few years. The FDA and certain experts claim that lipstick, unlike candy, is ingested only in very small quantities, so any traces of lead that do exist are too minute to pose a threat. Anti-lead consumer advocates, including the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, however, insist that there is no such thing as a “safe” level of lead exposure.

Concerns abound, for instance, that a pregnant woman wearing lipstick can pass lead to her baby internally. “What we know now is that even the lowest levels of lead can harm your IQ, your behavior, your ability to learn, so we want to make sure that it is out of everything that is in the environment of children,” Sean Palfrey, medical director for the Boston Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, a joint initiative by the Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and the Department of Pediatrics at Boston Medical Center.

In a recent investigation of lip products commonly found in drug and department stores across the United States, UC Berkeley researchers found levels of highly toxic metals with significant potential health impacts. Although none of the samples exceeded current public health exposure standards, women who apply such products to their lips more than twice per day could be getting as much as a fifth of their daily recommended doses, according to the study, which was published Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. In fact, average use of certain lipsticks and lip glosses can result in excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. Women who slather on their lipsticks, or frequently reapply them throughout the day, also risk overexposure to aluminum, cadmium, and manganese. 


1. Maybelline Color Sensational (125 Pink Petal): 7.19 ppm

2. L’Oréal Colour Riche (410 Volcanic): 7.00 ppm

3. Nars Semi-Matte (1005 Red Lizard): 4.93 ppm

4. CoverGirl Queen Collection Vibrant Hues Color (Q580 Ruby Remix): 4.92 ppm

5. Nars Semi-Matte (1009 Funny Face): 4.89 ppm

6. L’Oréal Colour Riche (165 Tickled Pink): 4.45 ppm

7. L’Oréal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor (748 Heroic): 4.41 ppm

8. CoverGirl Continuous Color (025 Warm Brick): 4.28 ppm

9. Maybelline Color Sensational (475 Mauve Me): 4.23 ppm

10. Stargazer Lipstick (103c): 4.12 ppm

11. Revlon Matte (009 Fabulous Fig): 3.32 ppm

12. Sonia Kashuk Luxury Lip Color (27 Mauvey): 3.12 ppm

13. Avon Beyond Color (558 Mad For Mauve): 3.08 ppm

14. Avon Endless (530 Mauve Amour): 2.87 ppm

15. Revlon ColorStay (375 Ripened Red): 2.84 ppm

16. Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer (d Toffee): 2.81 ppm

17. Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl (631 Luminous Pink): 2.81 ppm

18. Revlon Super Lustrous Pearl (643 Satin Plum): 2.77 ppm

19. Cover Girl Continuous Color (595 Iced Plum): 2.74 ppm

20. Stargazer Lipstick (101c): 2.71 ppm

Hey, the decision is actually yours, figure it out!

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