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Lead in Lipstick Dangers

The least contaminated lipstick was Wet n' Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm Bahama Mama at 0.026 ppm (parts per million). The product was also the cheapest brand. The highest lead level listed was Maybelline manufactured by L’Oreal USA lipsticks at 7.19 ppm. The average lead in all 400 lipsticks evaluated was 1.11 ppm.

Washington 3/2/2012 7:46:26 AM

Washington, DC -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently received a number of inquiries from consumers concerned about the amount of lead present in lipstick. FDA's studies have found no lead levels that would pose safety concerns when lipstick is used as intended.

FDA scientists developed an analytical method, published in 2009, for measuring the amount of lead in lipstick. Our initial findings, as well as our expanded findings posted in December 2011, confirm that the amount of lead found in lipstick is very low and does not pose safety concerns.

A study by the Food and Drug Administration found 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead. However, the lead found is at a low enough level to not cause a serious health risk.

The least contaminated lipstick was Wet n' Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm Bahama Mama at 0.026 ppm (parts per million). The product was also the cheapest brand.  The highest lead level listed was Maybelline manufactured by L’Oreal USA lipsticks at 7.19 ppm.  The average lead in all 400 lipsticks evaluated was 1.11 ppm.

The top 5 lipsticks with the least amount of lead were:

1. Wet'n' Wild, Mega Mixers Lip Balm Bahama Mama: Lead <.026 ppm

2. L'Oreal, Colour Juice Cherry On Top: Lead <0.026 ppm

3. Clinique, Almost Black Honey: Lead < 0.026 ppm

4. Lori Anne, Mood Blue: Lead 0.03 ppm

5. M.A.C. Satin M.A.C. Red: Lead 0.03 ppm

Source: FDA

Though the FDA feels that the low levels of lead may not pose a health risk 9Health Reporter Dr. John Torres indicated that the levels of lead could potentially pose a health risk for children.

"The small amount of lead exposure especially in young children, developing brains in young children, can cause a problem and the main problem it can cause is development of that brain," Dr. John said. "Essentially, they start having problems in language development, with math development, those types of things. It doesn't take much lead for that to happen; but again, these lead levels are very, very small. I wouldn't be too concerned using it on a casual basis, but if it's something they are playing with on a daily basis, or they are ingesting or eating it, then stay away from that."

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) argues that there is no safe level of lead exposure and wants the government to set lead limits for lipsticks.

To see the FDA's report on how much lead is in each lipstick tested click here.

An inexpensive screening device to monitor for lead at home or in the workplace is the Lead Screen Check manufactured by Building Health Check and available Grainger’s, Sears, Carrier/Bryant dealers, many on-line dealers or at or call 1-800-422-78783 ext. 404.

About Building Health Check, LLC

Building Health Check, LLC sets the industry standard for IAQ DIY kits, testing equipment, and laboratory analysis. For more information on Building Health Check, LLC contact us at 800-422-7873 ext. 404 or 804 or visit

About our Affiliate Laboratory, EDLab

The Environmental Diagnostics Laboratory (EDLab) (established in 1992) at Pure Air Control Services (PACS) is an AIHA accredited environmental lab offering complete and comprehensive indoor environmental microbiology laboratory services. They include: microbiology, aerobiology, chemistry, allergen assays and microscopy designed to meet all your indoor air needs. EDLab supports IAQ investigations by assisting with strategic sampling plan development and supplying media collection equipment while performing a wide range of environmental analyses.  Contact EDLab at or toll free 1-800-422-7873 ext 301.


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