Tags: lead | lipstick | metal | IQ | brain | heavy | metal

Lead in Lipstick: Can It Lower Your IQ?

Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012 04:40 PM


For the second time this year, a study of popular lipstick brands has found many contain tiny amounts of lead, raising concerns about potential health risks from the toxic brain-damaging heavy metal.
In an analysis commissioned by Good Morning America, Underwriters Laboratories found more than half of 22 lipstick brands tested had trace amounts of lead. Although they were well within lead levels considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, consumer advocates said the findings provide more evidence federal regulators should restrict the use of the toxic substance in cosmetics.
“What we know now is that even the lowest levels of lead can harm your IQ, your behavior, your ability to learn,” said Dr. Sean Palfrey, medical director for the Boston Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.
In February, the FDA released a study that found 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead traces. According to the report — posted on the FDA website at http://1.usa.gov/sNtz49 — five L’Oreal and Maybelline lipsticks had the highest lead levels. The least tainted: "Wet n' Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm Bahama Mama."
Although FDA officials said the lead levels detected by the agency did not raise serious safety concerns, the report prompted the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and other consumer-health advocacy organizations to call for the agency to set tougher standards. In response, the agency said it is reviewing such action, even as officials downplayed the potential public health risks from lead in lipstick.
“We have assessed the potential for harm to consumers from use of lipstick containing lead at the levels found in [FDA] testing,” said agency officials, in a statement. “Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern.”
But they added: “Although we do not believe that the lead content found in our recent lipstick analyses poses a safety concern, we are evaluating whether there may be a need to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick in order to further protect the health and welfare of consumers.”
Dr. Halyna Breslawec, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, argued lipstick does not pose a public health hazard. 'If you were serious about the public health aspects of lead poisoning you would not be looking at lipstick,” Breslawec told GMA. “You would be looking at locations where children live. Do they live near hazardous waste dumps — are they chewing lead-containing paint fragments?'
For the latest study, GMA bought 22 different lipsticks from a variety of brands in all different colors and found that 12 — 55 percent — had traces of lead. UL scientists who did the study noted the FDA hasn’t set a legal limit on lead in lipstick; manufacturers decide how stringently to limit the toxic metal. Lead levels found in the GMA report were as high as 3.22 parts per million — well below the standards set by health officials in California (5 ppm) and the European Union (10 ppm).
But some activists have argued there should be no traces of lead in lipstick, in order to protect women as well as children who might be exposed in the womb, through a mother’s kiss, or by getting into a mother’s makeup kit. Many studies have found small levels of lead can affect IQ levels, behavior, and learning ability and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said there is no safe concentration.
Janet Nudelman, of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, noted GMA’s findings indicated nearly half the products tested did not contain lead, underscoring that it is not an essential ingredient for lipstick. Many color additives are mineral-based and contain trace levels of lead found in soil, water, and air.
GMA declined to say which lipstick brands were tested or were found to contain lead.
“If you want to avoid lead in lipstick, it's tough to do,” said ABC News' Elisabeth Leamy and Vanessa Weber, who produced the GMA report. “In our tests, we compared department store lipstick to drugstore lipstick, reds to pinks, Asian-made to American-made, lipstick to lip gloss, and we found no pattern that predicted where the lead was.”



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Tuesday, 04 Dec 2012 04:40 PM
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