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More Than Half of Lipstick Contains Lead, Says Consumer Rights Group; CTFA Responds

Posted: October 12, 2007

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Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, reduced school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development. Lead has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is calling on the industry to reformulate products to remove lead, to require suppliers to guarantee that raw materials are free of lead and other contaminants.

The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association (CTFA) has responded to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics claim.

In its response, the CTFA maintains that lead is not intentionally added to cosmetics, but rather is naturally occurring element that is found everywhere in the environment. According to the association, consumers are exposed lead in every day activities, and lead exposure from cosmetics pales in comparison to lead exposure in food, water and the environment. 

“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has set daily safe levels for lead exposure for adults, children and pregnant women. The agency also has set strict limits for lead levels allowed in the colors used in lipsticks, and actually analyze most of these to ensure they are followed. The products identified in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) report meet these standards. In fact, all the products tested in the CSC report meet the California standards for safety established under their Prop 65 process," said John Bailey, EVP for science for the CTFA in the associations response.