Trade associations dismiss lead in lipstick safety claims

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Cosmetics, Safe cosmetics

European and American trade associations have dismissed claims from
a consumer group that some lipsticks on the US market contain
unacceptably high levels of lead.

On the lobbying trail again, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics yesterday released the results of independent research claiming that 61 per cent of tested lipsticks contained detectable levels of lead. The interest group claims that some of the more expensive brands such as L'Oreal Colour Riche and Dior Addict had some of the highest levels of lead, while the heavy metal was not detected in some cheaper brands like Revlon. Lead is a poisonous metal that can in large doses cause brain and blood disorders. It has also been linked to infertility. Nonetheless, cosmetics trade associations on both sides of the Atlantic insist that the amount of lead in lipstick is negligible and poses no health risk to consumers. "The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmetics is 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing and drinking water that meets Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) drinking water standards,"​ stated the US trade organisation, the Cosmetics, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA). However, in a statement, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics argued that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set a 0.1 ppm limit on lead in candy, while the new research found as much as 0.65 ppm of lead in lipsticks, which are also ingested. Sebastian Marx, spokesperson for the European Cosmetic, Toiletry and Perfumery Association (COLIPA), told that it was unfair to make a direct comparison between lead levels in food and lipstick. He said: "The amount of lipstick that you ingest is much smaller when used normally than it would be if you ate it."We have the same opinion as the CTFA. The levels of lead that have been found in cosmetics are minimal and its presence is not a health hazard." ​The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has invited industry players to join its campaign for stricter regulation in the US, arguing that the FDA has set no maximum level for the amount of lead in lipsticks. While the FDA has not set a strict limit for the amount of lead in lipsticks, the CTFA pointed out that it does set limits for the lead levels allowed in the colours used in lipsticks. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics called on the industry to reformulate products to ensure that all cosmetics are lead free. The CTFA responded to this plea by pointing out that lead is not intentionally added to cosmetics and that companies have been working for decades to reduce the presence of naturally occurring lead in their products to safe levels.

Related topics: Market Trends, Color Cosmetics

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