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U.S. study finds dangerous metals in lipstick

A survey of 32 popular lipsticks find harmful metals such as lead, cadmium and chromium.
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Ryan Porter, May 7, 2013 1:03:49 PM

Poison lipstick—it’s not just for Bond girls. A study at the University of California found that 32 common American lipsticks contain harmful metals including lead, cadmium and aluminum, USA Today reported last week.

While lead is a known toxin, Katharine Hammond, who co-authored the study, said it was “not the metal of most concern” that the researchers detected. Although lead was found in 24 of the lipsticks, Hammond says the amount was not concentrated enough to be harmful for adults.

However, in Canada and the European Union, lead is considered unacceptable for any cosmetic. Any lead found in Canadian lipstick is from impurities in ingredients, according to the Canadian Cancer Society. Hammond advises against allowing children to play with American lipstick because of its lead content.

Something that might make you feel either better or worse, depending on your perspective, is that the amounts of chromium, a known carcinogen, and cadmium, which can cause cancer, lung disease and kidney damage, found in lipstick are less than a percent of the amount that you will get from your diet. So basically everything is already poisonous.

In a review of 400 lipsticks undertaken by the FDA in 2012, the American lipstick found to have the most lead was Maybelline Color Sensational #125 Pink Petal, followed closely by L’Oreal Colour Riche #410 Volcanic. At the bottom of the list with less than one part per million were Wet n’ Wild, Bobbi Brown and Shiseido brands. Something to keep in mind should you find yourself caught south of the border with a bare lip.

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Ryan Porter

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