Pucker Up? What's Really in Some Lipsticks?

Buyer beware? Recent studies have the lips of beauty buffs across the country puckered up in a panic, as scientists warn of the dangers in some lipsticks and lip glosses that could contain high levels of metal. Say it ain't so!

Based on findings conducted during a study by the University of California School of Public Health in Berkeley, a few results have many alarmed. The findings concluded that eight lipsticks and twenty-four of the lip glosses utilized in the study were found to possible contain hazardous metals including aluminum, cadmium, lead, titanium, and several others. Other studies have also found similar results, warning that lipstick consumers are at risk. A report from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cites 400 lipsticks as containing traces of these dangerous metals. 

The University of California study also notes that the potential risks depend on the level of lipstick use. The study explains that lip color is often ingested or absorbed by the user, with the effects on health dependant upon how often and how heavily the product is applied. The UC Study highlights that 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.

A written statement from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics cited the potential risks in using beauty products like this. "Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels," said Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, policy advisor of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and co-chair of the Environmental Health Task Force for the National Medical Association.  The FDA said it is currently evaluating whether to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is now urging FDA to set a maximum limit for lead in lipstick based on the lowest lead levels cosmetic manufacturers can feasibly achieve.

However, despite the growing concern over the metallic contents of lipsticks and the call for new regulations to the industry, many other studies have found the results claimed above to be inconclusive. The FDA has conducted studies on lipstick and its contents in both 2007 and 2011 with results that were still unclear. Many safety experts believe the levels found in some lipsticks do not pose such a hazard. With the jury still out on the true levels of metal in lipsticks, we want to know what our readers think. Will you be changing your lipstick or lip gloss based on the current makeup madess over lipsticks and their content?  Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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