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UC Berkeley: Lipstick contains toxic levels of lead, cadmium, aluminum, chromium, etc

Lipstick contains toxic levels of lead, cadmium, aluminum, chromium, etcI still remember playing as a young child in my mother’s high heels and wearing her lipstick.  It was fun and hugely entertaining, but unfortunately it was also very toxic.

A new University of California at Berkeley study has found many common brands of lipstick contain toxic levels of lead, cadmium, aluminum, chromium, etc.

This isn’t exactly new information, as we reported six years ago that there’s lead in your lipstick!  Apparently, lead isn’t the toxic ingredient of most concern.  This new UC Berkeley study shows little has changed to make cosmetics safer for women and girls of all ages.

USA Today reports on the study published in the peer-reviewed journal Environmental Health Perspectives:

Testing of 32 commonly sold lipsticks and lip glosses found they contain lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals — some at potentially toxic levels, according to researchers at the University of California-Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Prior research has also found lead in lipstick, including a December 2011 survey of 400 varieties by the Food and Drug Administration that found low levels the agency said pose no safety concerns. This UC study looked at more metals and estimated health risks based on their concentrations and typical lipstick use.

“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue.It’s the levels that matter,” says co-author S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health. She says some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could pose health problems in the long run.

“This study is saying, ‘FDA, wake up and pay attention,’ ” she says.

When not blotted on tissue or left as kiss marks, lipstick and lip gloss are ingested or absorbed by the user. The health effect depends partly on how often and how heavily the product is applied. The average user applies lipstick 2.3 times daily and ingests 24 milligrams each day, while a heavy user applies it as many as 14 times and ingests an average of 83 milligrams, the UC study says..

For even the average user, the study found that some of the lipsticks could result in excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. High use could potentially cause overexposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese.

Given recent studies that show parents are letting their children experiment and play with makeup at earlier ages, this study’s results are alarming. Certainly the ingestion rates are higher amongst children. Furthermore, smaller bodies are more susceptible to levels of heavy metals than adult size bodies.

The Daily Mail reports on the trend of children wearing make up at earlier ages finding lipstick to be the most popular choice:

Most of the respondents – 49per cent – said they did not allow their child to experiment with make-up.

However, 35per cent said they let them start playing with cosmetics between the age of seven and ten, and almost a third of the total parents polled admitted to giving permission when their child was only between five and seven years old…

‘Children are often curious about make-up,’ said Mr Pearson. ‘And with many watching their mother apply it on a daily basis, it is only natural that they will want to try lipstick too!’

The type of make-up girls are permitted to wear varies, with 57per cent saying ‘colored lip balm’ is the most frequent.

Lipstick is second most popular, allowed by 46per cent of parents, followed by nail polish at 42per cent.

Personally, my daughter is at the age where her friends are wearing make up, and she is also experimenting.  I tell her “less is more” when it comes to makeup, and as a mother who does not wear it at all, she is at a disadvantage for advice.  I don’t want to forbid her from experimenting, and happily she has discovered on her own that it is not something she needs to wear daily.   I want her to discover her own ideals of beauty while still informing her of my values and where are culture is misguided.  I have educated her about the importance of using only natural cosmetics like Dr.Hauschka Lipstick, even though they are more expensive.  We have to let our children be who they will be, but we need to give them the tools to do so without toxic ingredients.  A balance can be found.

Image:  Image of lovely Cupid boy with red lipstick on Bigstock

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