The good news: After a long, tight-lipped silence, the U.S. Federal Drug Administration tested lipsticks for lead — a move that eco-nonprofit organizations like Campaign for Safe Cosmetics have been calling for years. After all, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ 2007 study found lead in 61 percent of the 33 lipsticks tested — despite the fact that lead wasn’t listed as an ingredient in any of them!
The bad news: The FDA found lead at levels four times higher than even what Campaign for Safe Cosmetics Found!
The really bad news: The FDA won’t name names — despite admitting that three specific manufacturers had the highest levels of lead in their lipsticks. And as of yet, the FDA has no standard for lead in lipstick — so toxic lipstick’s fair game.
How much lead are we talking? Well, the FDA found lead in all 20 lipsticks it tested — with the average level being 1.07 ppm — a level 10 times higher than the FDA’s 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy, which doesn’t bode well for kids who might use a parent’s lipstick while playing dress up. Even scarier, the highest lead level the FDA found was 3.06 ppm — and the FDA won’t tell us which scary lipstick that is!
Despite the fact that some cosmetic industry people say lipstick can’t be made without lead, lead-free lipsticks are already on the market. In fact, health-conscious companies like Lavera have lipstick trade-in offers to entice you away from the contaminated lipsticks.
To keep your lips lead-free, look for lipsticks specifically labeled lead-free or consult Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep cosmetic safety database when shopping. Of course, lipstick-free living’s also a good option; here’s are some of my favorite organic lip balms.