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Lead in Lipstick? Yes, indeedy.

One of the readers of this blog, who also happens to be one of the smartest men I know, was kind enough to question the assertion I made in a previous post about there being lead in certain colors of lipstick. He pointed me to the Snopes page that addresses the urban legend about being able to test for lead in lipstick with a gold ring.

First, I want to say Thanks, not only for reading this blog but for calling me out and questioning something I said! I am by nature an academic, and if I am misinformed, I want to know!

However, on this point, the Snopes page debunked the myth about being able to test for lead with a gold ring (which wasn’t part of my post) but confirmed the fact that, indeed, some lipsticks, particularly red ones, contain lead. Snopes accepts the FDA’s assurances that these are very low levels of lead and don’t pose a health threat.

Unfortunately, the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act addressed “tolerances for certain poisonous substances…”, and does not take into account variations of the human body and the tolerance levels of individuals, which are certainly not universal.

Last year, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics ran its own tests verifying the presence of lead in lipsticks and noting that, although the levels of lead in lipsticks are around what’s considered a safe level (by the FDA) of lead in candy (what? there’s a safe level of lead in candy? Why is there lead in candy at all? Is there anyone truly watching and protecting our health and the health of our kids? More and more, I fear the answer is “no.”), since lead is bio-accumulative, no levels of lead are safe to continually introduce into our bodies.

Personally, I would rather not play roullette with my health and only purchase products that I’m certain do not contain any lead. Which leads me back to my original excitement about the mineral lipstick. 🙂

Posted in: Living naturally

6 Comments on “Lead in Lipstick? Yes, indeedy.

  1. First of all I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts prior to writing. I have had trouble clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I truly do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually wasted simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or tips? Thanks!

  2. Lead in water is limited to 15 ppb or 15ug/L. Why would candy be allowed to have 100ug/L???

  3. Benjamin Franklin wrote about the dangers of lead.
    It takes 30 days to flush out of the system.
    Lead is used for the color to cover in one coat vs 3 coats w/o lead.

  4. Steve – Very astute comment! In fact, I wrote this query to the ELF company:
    “Can you tell me if there are any trace amounts of lead in your mineral lipsticks? Particularly the reds.”

    And received back this response:
    “We have strict quality control procedures to insure that our products are free from lead and hazardous materials.”

    So, yes, I still feel safe with this particular brand of mineral lipstick. 🙂

    Learn more about hazardous materials in cosmetics here:

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