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Lipstick, other makeup may contain hidden harmful ingredients

June 26, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
The makeup you're applying could contain hidden ingredients that may be harmful, according to health experts.

Nancy Harvey Steorts, the former chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and an international safety expert, is speaking out about the dangers hidden in makeup.

"Lead is an issue that consumers are very concerned about," said Steorts.

The Food and Drug Administration recently did a study uncovering trace amounts of lead in 400 lipsticks. Some of the higher levels were 7.19 parts per million to 4.3 parts per million. To give you a guideline, a maximum 0.1 parts per million is what's allowed in candy bars.

"I would not want to be buying a lipstick that was at the top of that list," said Steorts.

Lead exposure has been linked to memory loss, mood disorders and miscarriage. While the FDA says these small, trace amounts of lead are not a safety concern, Steorts disagrees.

"A trace amount of lead is too much," she said.

Another concern is lotions. The FDA has identified 35 imported skin lightening creams and soaps tainted with mercury. Experts say your best line of defense is to read the labels.

"If a cosmetic is not labeled and there are no ingredients listed, don't buy it," said Steorts. "I'm hoping that the cosmetic companies are going to wake up to the call from consumers that we really want to have no lead in our lipstick."

Obviously, lipstick isn't intended for ingesting, but some occurs just from wearing it while eating or drinking. There's also the issue of babies accidently ingesting it if they find some lying around.


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