Maybe you were born with unsafe levels of lead in your body. But maybe it’s Maybelline.
Or, to be fair, L’Oréal, NARS, Cover Girl, Revlon, or Burt’s Bees.
These brands all make at least one product that ended up on the FDA’s 2012 list of the 20 lipsticks with the most lead in them. (Top on the list is Maybelline Color Sensational No. 125 Pink Petal.) And lead isn’t the only metal that women (and a smaller number of men) are smearing on their faces daily. A new study, Mother Jones reports, found lead in 75 percent of the lipsticks it tested, but the makeup also contained worrying levels of toxic metals like aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese.
Mother Jones explains how the FDA lets cosmetic companies get away with this:
Though the agency regulates how much of these substances can be in pigment, strangely, it hasn’t specified how much metal overall is allowed in the tube of lipstick. And the FDA itself doesn’t even test the dozens of dyes used in cosmetics or set the maximum amounts of metals in them; it outsourced that job years ago to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an organization established in 1976 by a cosmetics-industry-aligned trade and lobbying group. Over the years, the CIR has banned 22 chemicals outright. For comparison, the EU currently bans more than 1,300 chemicals.
Go figure; not only do women in France and Italy look better than us, they manage not to poison themselves while doing it.
- Which 20 Lipsticks Contain the Most Lead? , Mother Jones
Get Grist in your inbox