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Lead Levels in Many Lipsticks Higher Than Reported
Date:9/2/2009

But new FDA analysis does not create 'safety concern,' agency says

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 2 (HealthDay News) -- A new analysis finds lead levels in many lipsticks are higher than those reported in 2007 by the consumer advocacy group Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

This new analysis, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and published in a recent issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Science, used new techniques to determine the lead levels.

Despite the findings, the agency reiterated its stance on the issue.

"Lipstick is a product intended for topical use, and is only ingested incidentally and in very small quantities," said FDA spokeswoman Stephanie Kwisnek. "FDA does not consider the lead levels that it found in lipsticks to be a safety concern. FDA also notes that the lead levels that it found are lower than limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick."

The Personal Care Products Council, which represents the cosmetic and personal care products industry, agreed.

"[FDA] . . . found the lead levels present to be safe and well below limits recommended by international regulatory and public health authorities," the council said in a statement. "Consumers who use lipstick ingest only a tiny fraction of the lipstick they apply, and much of the lead that is ingested in that tiny fraction of lipstick is not biologically available because it is trapped inside larger particles and excreted by the body."

A medical expert agreed that the levels are still low, but wondered if they could build up to more toxic amounts, especially in fetuses and children.

"If you put this on your mouth every day, or little kids' mouths or when you're pregnant, is this small amount of lead building up in a way that would actually affect infants, fetuses and young children significantly over time?" asked Dr. Sean Palfrey, a professor of pediatrics
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