Back in 2007, the FDA released a report about lead in lipstick products here in the United States. They tested 400 different cosmetic brands and found that while many of them had lead present in the lipstick, the amount was not above the “safe” level guidelines set forth by the state of California. That level was set at 5ppm, and the lipsticks tested were coming in at around 3ppm. This was in 2007.
Fast forward to 2011. The FDA releases their updated test results showing two name-brand cosmetic companies selling products with unsafe levels of lead in lipstick. Both Maybelline and L’Oreal are now marketing lipsticks with lead levels at 7.19 and 7.00ppm, and several other companies are selling products with lead levels considerably higher than that considered safe back in 2007. If you are using any of these name-brand lipstick brands, you are ingesting lead on a daily basis and at a much higher level than what is generally considered allowable, if not exactly “safe” to consume.
Thankfully we have the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics on our side. They have started a letter-writing campaign to L’Oreal USA asking them to make a lipstick not contaminated with dangerous levels of lead:
I’ve had enough. L’Oreal, aren’t we worth getting the lead out of lipstick? I demand an apology from your company and a public commitment to reformulate all L’Oreal and Maybelline lipsticks to ensure the lowest possible levels of lead.
Lead is a proven neurotoxin linked to learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, impulsiveness, reduced school performance, increased aggression, seizures and brain damage, anemia, and, after long exposure, damage to the kidneys. Lead has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in men and women, hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities and delays in the onset of puberty in girls.
When there is lead in lipstick sold by name-brand companies at big-box stores, it makes it difficult for women to avoid using such toxic products on a daily basis. Education is key, of course, but not everyone has time to do the research for every single item they purchase, so it’s up to us to ask companies to do the right thing and not make and sell products that could cause us harm. Let L’Oreal know you aren’t OK with them selling lipstick with unsafe levels of lead in it!