September 2, 2009

Lead in lipstick, but no FDA standard

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration should set standards to reduce lead in lipstick to the lowest achievable levels, a U.S. non-profit group says.

Lisa Archer, national coordinator for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund, says the FDA found an average lead level in lipstick more than 10 times higher than its own standard for lead in candy.

FDA's standard for candy is based on the lowest lead level that can be achieved and a similar standard should be applied to lipstick, Archer says.

The FDA found lead in all 20 lipsticks tested, at 0.09 to 3.06 parts per million -- four times higher than the highest level reported in by Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Archer says.

The FDA used a new method to analyze lipstick and concluded that earlier methods likely underestimated lead levels, but the FDA has no standard for lead in lipstick, Archer says.

Lipstick, intended for topical use, is only ingested incidentally and in very small quantities and the FDA does not consider the lead levels that it found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern, the FDA Web site said.