Consumer Group Reports Traces of Lead in Lipstick

A consumer group has reported that a large number of lipsticks manufactured in the United States contain high levels of lead. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics conducted a series of tests on 33 name-brand red lipsticks bought around the country to report that 61% of those tested contained detectable lead.

In its report, A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick, the group points out that lead levels ranged from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). The group pointed out that 1/3 of the tested lipsticks exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy. It later goes on to suggest lipstick is ingested in the same way as candy and should, therefore, be regulated in a similar fashion.  

Almost 40%of the lipsticks did not contain traceable levels of lead. Lipsticks with and without led reportedly ranged from prestige brands to mass market brands. Some of the brands tested were Revlon, Dior, L’Oreal, and Cover Girl.

The group pointed out that lead can accumulate in the body, and poses a risk to pregnant women. “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. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” said Mark Mitchell, MD, MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice in the press release. 

The consumer group called upon the personal care industry for reformulation to remove lead. It also asked that suppliers guarantee raw materials to be free of lead and other contaminants, and called upon the FDA to strictly regulate personal care products. To read the report, visit

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