5 Easy Tips For Avoiding Lead In Lipstick

Lipstick and Lead

The media is abuzz with the latest bombshell about lead in lipstick — and this time, that’s just the beginning. A new study by University of California found many other toxic metals in products we put on our faces.

What’s going on? As I explained on Fox News recently, we’ve known about this problem for a long time. I was part of the team that broke the story about lead in lipstick in 2007. FDA followed with its own study and found even higher lead levels in hundreds of lipsticks. And now, a UC study is here to tell us that it’s not just lead but aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and other toxic metals too.

For six years, the beauty companies have shrugged their shoulders and told us not to worry our pretty little heads.

I agree we shouldn’t worry. It’s time to get mad.

First of all, don’t tell us it’s just a little bit of lead. We don’t want to put lead on our lips in any amount. And besides, there is no safe level of lead exposure — even the lowest doses can harm the brains of children and developing fetuses.

And don’t tell us it’s not a problem because lipstick isn’t for kids. We know that little girls love it, and anyway, where do you think kids come from? From the bodies of women, millions of whom are wearing lead-tainted lipstick every day — and reapplying often.

And do not try to tell us it’s legal. That means nothing when there are no safety standards for cosmetics.

Obviously we need standards. Yet we’re still waiting for a response to this February 2012 letter  from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, and this request from a group of U.S. Senators who asked FDA to set safety standards for lead in cosmetics back in 2007.

As usual, the only way to get anything done around here is to do it ourselves. Are you with me? Here are my 5 best tips for avoiding lead in lipstick.

1. Don’t wear lipstick. Maybe not what you want to hear, but there’s no way to know which lipsticks contain lead unless you test them at a lab for $200 a pop.

2. Or at least wear less lipstick.

3. And definitely don’t let kids wear lipstick.

4. Ask your favorite lipstick manufacturer to convince you they’re doing everything they can to keep the heavy metals out of their products.

5. Demand safe products. Why are there no safety standards for cosmetics? The cosmetics laws in the U.S. are from 1938! But just two weeks ago, Congressional champs introduced the Safe Cosmetics Act into the US Congress. Please support this important legislation right now by taking action here.

Let’s give the beauty industry a makeover!

Stacy Malkan is a co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the award-winning book “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry.” Contact her at [email protected] and on twitter at @safecosmetics.

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  • Ashley

    How does this hold true to natural lipsticks? Telling women to simply not wear lipstick may not be the easiest way to keep them safe:)

    Thanks for all the great work!

  • Anonymous

    Hi Ashley, there are certainly some much better alternatives out there today, and more and more clean make-up brands are popping up with great products. So yes, read the ingredient list, stay informed and choose your lipstick carefully ’cause we all love a nice bright red lip from time to time!