Study finds concentrations of metals in lipsticks

There's No Substitute for Experience

Many women and teenagers in Tennessee -- and around the rest of the country -- put on lipstick before going out. For many, touching up their shade is a normal part of their day; with one study even finding some reapply lipstick more than 20 times a day.

However, while there is nothing wrong with wanting bright red lips -- or just a hint of color -- some are starting to question just how safe lipstick really is.

Katharine Hammond is a professor of environmental health sciences. She was the lead on the new analysis that found many lipsticks contain a wide range of metals. Now, she is questioning the long-term effects of swallowing and absorbing these metals.

At this point there are two sides. There are those, like Hammond, who question the safety of these products, while there is the cosmetics industry saying there are such small trace amounts of the metals that it is not an issue.

Linda Loretz, who is the chief toxicologist for an industry association, said the amount -- which on average is a little above 1 parts per million -- is too low of a level to cause any real harm.

However, while Loretz makes this claim, the medical director of a lead poisoning prevention program points out that the FDA does not allow more than 0.1 part per million of lead in candy for children. He also points out the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has agreed that no level of lead is safe.

The most recent study also found there to be a wide range in terms of metal concentrations. This range leads this same medical director to come to the conclusion that companies are able to control the amount that winds up in their products.

At this point, the FDA is being encouraged to explore the issue further to determine if there are any health risks. For the time being, parents are being warned to not let children play with lipstick, for if a young child were to eat lipstick, this could end up being too much metal for their body.

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