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PCPC defends FDA study of lead found in lipsticks

By Andrew McDougall , 23-Feb-2012
Last updated on 23-Feb-2012 at 16:24 GMT

PCPC defends FDA study of lead found in lipsticks

The Personal Care Products Council has spoken out in defence of the FDA study into the levels of lead found in lipstick, reinforcing the view that there are ‘no safety concerns’, following criticism from pressure groups.

The US Food and Drug Administration announced it will continue to evaluate the levels of lead found in lipsticks to ensure it protects the health of consumers, having completed its latest analysis on 400 lipsticks at the end of last year.

The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics applied pressure to the agency after the study found lead in 400 lipsticks tested at widely varying levels of up to 7.19 parts per million (ppm); more than twice the levels reported in a previous FDA study.

No safety concern

FDA responded saying: “We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick."

PCPC chief scientist Halyna Breslawec has reinforced this view, stating: “FDA again has reviewed the lead levels found in lipstick and determined them to be safe.”

Breslawec believes that some activist groups are misconstruing the results of the FDA study that found current lead levels in lipsticks to be below the limits recommended by international regulatory authorities.

“Using lipstick containing lead at this level [in the FDA study] would result in exposure 1000 times less than from daily consumption of water meeting EPA drinking water standards,” she added.

Lead not used intentionally

“Lead is never used as an intentionally added ingredient in or as an additive to lipstick. However, lead is ubiquitous and found naturally in air, water, and soil.”

Lead is also found as a trace contaminant in the raw ingredients used in formulating cosmetics, such as lipstick, as well as in many other products.

“Cosmetic companies are required by law to substantiate the safety of their products before they are marketed. Nothing matters more to cosmetic companies than the safety of those products and the well- being of the women who use them," Breslawec concluded.

The issue of lead being found in cosmetics, particularly lipsticks, tracked by FDA since the 1990's, is not new.

In 2009, FDA examined 20 products and found that the lead levels in those products did not present any safety concern, before following this up with the extended 2011 study.

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