Skip to content

Lead in Lipstick: Health Hazard Or Not A Concern?

By Kathleen Doheny

Valentine’s Day 2012 and its kisses are history, but the lipstick debate continues.

Is the lead in lipstick a health hazard?

According to the FDA, lead in lipstick is not a concern. In its 2010 analysis of 400 lipsticks, the agency found no cause for alarm. On its website, the FDA states: “We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern.”

The average lead concentration found was 1.11 parts per million. This is similar to the average 1.07 ppm found in an earlier survey. These levels, the FDA says, ”are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick.” However, some lead levels were higher, more than 7 ppm.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, an advocacy group, has asked the FDA to set a maximum limit for lead in lipstick.

Currently, the FDA does not have a limit for lead in cosmetics. (There are specifications for lead in color additives used in cosmetics.) However, the FDA says it is now evaluating whether it should recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick.

The FDA regulates cosmetic safety under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. Cosmetics must ”be safe when used as directed in the labeling or under customary conditions of use.”

However, cosmetics companies do not have to gain premarket approval for their products.

Besides asking the FDA to regulate lead in lipsticks more tightly, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is also hosting a Kiss Lead Goodbye campaign. Consumers may submit videos and photos urging companies to reduce lead levels in lipsticks.

In the FDA analysis, the highest lead level was found in Maybelline’s Color Sensational Pink Petal, at 7.19 ppm. L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Volcanic was next, with 7 ppm.

More information is on the FDA site and at the Campaign’s site.

Comments

Leave a comment

Important:

The opinions expressed in WebMD Second Opinion are solely those of the User, who may or may not have medical or scientific training. These opinions do not represent the opinions of WebMD. Second Opinion are... Expand

Newsletters

Subscribe to free WebMD newsletters.

  • WebMD Daily

    WebMD Daily

    Subscribe to the WebMD Daily, and you'll get today's top health news and trending topics, and the latest and best information from WebMD.

  • Men's Health

    Men's Health

    Subscribe to the Men's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, nutrition, and more from WebMD.

  • Women's Health

    Women's Health

    Subscribe to the Women's Health newsletter for the latest on disease prevention, fitness, sex, diet, anti-aging, and more from WebMD.

By clicking Submit, I agree to the WebMD Terms & Conditions & Privacy Policy

URAC: Accredited Health Web Site TRUSTe online privacy certification HONcode Seal AdChoices