The FDA began testing lead levels in lipstick in 2007 in response to a report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Back then, the highest lead levels detected were about 3 parts per billion (ppb), which is below the lowest safety limits currently set for lead: 5 ppb.
In December the FDA released the results of updated tests that found the highest lead levels to be at 7.19 ppb. The two brands that tested highest were L’Oreal and Maybelline (both manufactured by L’Oreal). This indicates that lead levels in lipstick are rising, not falling. That’s disturbing news.
The FDA states that the lead levels found in the tested lipstick do not pose a safety risk when lipstick is used as intended, though the FDA is considering setting an upper limit for lead in lipsticks. I’d like to see that upper limit set at zero—just like the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is pushing to set the limit for lead in drinking water to zero.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued a report stating that there is no safe level of lead for children. The report highlighted the importance of preventing lead exposure in children and pregnant women—the same pregnant women who often wear lipstick.
Want to check the lead levels in your lipstick? Click here for the FDA test results. If your lipstick contains higher amounts of lead, you might want to consider buying another lipstick lower down the list. Spread the word and pass this on.