Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Lead in Lipstick . . . Still

From Emerald Apron’s Cosmetics Bag

Please entertain my rant, because I am ticked off beyond belief. According to a recent press release from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, lead is still found in many different brands of lipstick.

This is something that I first heard about a few years ago, but apparently it’s been common knowledge for at least five years. Why is lead still in lipstick? I’m sorry, have we forgotten that lead is a known neurotoxin? That there are no safe levels of lead exposure for children, and that pregnant women and women of reproductive age should be especially careful to avoid lead? This isn’t BPA in plastic bottles. There is no question, NO DEBATE. There is scientific consensus that people should not be exposed to lead. There are regulations for the amount of lead in gasoline, paint, toys… so WHY is lead in lipstick unregulated? We don’t want children to eat paint chips that may contain lead, but we can have women applying lead to their lips, multiple times a day, consuming the lead with every sip or bite they take, and letting the lead absorb into their skin. I’m seriously frustrated by this, and I don’t even own a single tube of lipstick.

Why can’t these cosmetics companies do the right thing? It seems to me that they just don’t care about our health or our children’s health. Go ahead and check out the list of lipsticks that were tested and see what specific companies really don’t care about your health. I was especially disappointed to see Burt’s Bees on the list because it is the only company that I buy from. I’m seriously considering boycotting them, even though I don’t buy their lipstick. I do use their lip balm, shampoo, conditioner and lotion. But which company can I trust? Who can I buy from?
I’ve come to the conclusion that I can’t trust any company to care about my health. They only make changes when they are forced by regulations (and even then, change is slow or companies are noncompliant). So why can’t the FDA do the right thing and require that these companies keep lead out of their lipstick? According to the press release from The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “The FDA said it is currently evaluating whether to recommend an upper limit for lead in lipstick. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is urging FDA to set a maximum limit for lead in lipstick based on the lowest lead levels cosmetic manufacturers can feasibly achieve.” As early as 2007, Senators Kerry, Boxer and Feinstein urged the FDA to begin regulating lead in lipsticks and other cosmetics. Seriously FDA? Stop evaluating and just do it. Why not do something to actually protect human health instead of listening to industry lobbyists?

Why don’t women stand up for themselves and demand better? Why don’t men stand up for women’s health while we’re at it? This isn’t about whether you choose to wear lipstick or choose not to wear lipstick. This isn’t an issue just for women, either. This is a human health issue and everyone should be concerned. I can’t help but wonder why a product like PAINT, which is used by all people, is seen as worthy of lead regulation while a product like lipstick, which is seen as only a women’s product, remains unregulated.

I choose to opt-out of most cosmetics by either just not wearing them or by making my own, but I don’t think that’s enough. It’s protecting me and my family, but it’s not protecting anyone else. So, what do you think we should do? Contact our representatives? Call for a mass boycott?


Dea-chan said...

Burts Bees is owned by Proctor and Gamble. That's enough to lose my business. The reason why you don't ever see P&G on the lable? Federal law states that the umbrella company only needs to be on the very out-most packaging -- and if a large box of Burts Bees lotions show up at CVS, only CVS ever sees that outside large box, which is also the only part that has P&G. Sneaky, eh?

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

I've been meaning to write about this on my own blog for a few months (just based on SkinDeep ratings) and now new info on lead amounts too! I am surprised to see Gabriel on the list as well (one of the more natural brands sold at Whole Foods). Currently I use Origins Matte lip sticks (more like a thick lip pencil) and I found a Hemp Organics one (SkinDeep score 1 or 2) at Whole Foods. I very rarely use lipstick so I don't worry about this too much personally, but you are right that this is a ealth issue everyone should be paying attention to. I wonder how the lead gets in there -- I'll have to read the report.

Betsy (Eco-Novice) said...

Incidentally, I first heard about lead in lipstick at least 6 years ago, maybe 7. It does seem like we should have taken care of this by now.

Michelle | Green Earth Bazaar said...

There should be NO lead is lipstick as far as I'm concerned! I only use organic lip balms, but this still makes me VERY angry. I'm sick of the toxins that are in EVERYTHING these days. I know what ingredients to avoid, but far too many people have no clue. It's a shame that our FDA doesn't protect consumers the way in which they should!

Thanks for sharing this - if one person reads this and stops using harmful products on themselves then that's a GREAT success!

Peace. ;)

knutty knitter said...

I don't use the stuff myself. I never liked the look anyhow but my son uses some in stage productions. Lead shouldn't even be considered in any make up whatsoever! Especially as children do use the stuff too.

viv in nz

knutty knitter said...

The captures are too hard to read for us robots!

Eco Yogini said...

I second Dea-chan, the reason why I stopped buying from Burt's Bees was that it was like buying Green Works- owned by Clorox- still supporting a large company that pollutes and I just can't trust.

I agree with you 100%, we SHOULD be angry about this- and we should be voicing our displeasure.

Fantastic post- thank you!

Eco Yogini said...

(oops! Burt's Bees is owned by Clorox- even worse!)

Charise @ I Thought I Knew Mama said...

Absolutely infuriating! Thanks for sharing this important info! I will be sure to pass it along.

Thanks also for linking up at the Green & Natural Mamas Linky!

Lisa Sharp said...

Burts Bees?! I like you don't use the lipsticks but I do have the chapstick. I rarely use lipstick, the couple I have are from Everyday Minerals but not sure they are still making any. I do use lipgloss from Aubrey Organics and Honeybee Garden's sometimes. I know they get good ratings on SkinDeep and aren't on the list but who knows if they were tested.

I agree, I may have to boycott Burts Bees on this one.

I don't make my own makeup, I use the brands listed above. I do make some of my own other personal care products but not makeup. I wonder how hard it would be to make a lipstick or tinted lip balm?


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