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Mary Bellis

Get The Lead Out

By March 11, 2012

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lead in lipstickHear me out on this bit of logic. If lead-free paint has been invented, why the heck is there still lead in lipsticks?

A recent analysis commissioned by the FDA showed that at least four hundred of the most popular lipstick products have some lead in them, more lead than is allowed in food products, and some brands had seventy times more lead than is allowed in food. And do I need to point out just where lipstick is applied?

And what do the experts say about exposure to lead?

"Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels," said Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, policy advisor of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and co-chair of the Environmental Health Task Force for the National Medical Association.

"Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development," said Sean Palfrey, M.D., a professor of pediatrics and public health at Boston University and the medical director of Boston's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

And just in case you were wondering, lead will not be listed on the ingredient content of lipstick packaging. Why? Because it is not an ingredient, lead is a contaminant (something that gets in there by accident) and contaminants do not have to be listed. Photo Credit :Martin Poole/Getty Images

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