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Saturday, October 13, 2007

You'll pry my red lipstick "from my cold dead hands"!

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I've been wearing red lipstick since I was in my teens and red lipstick was not in fashion.

The reason for this was that my favorite aunt always wore red lipstick and matching red nail polish all her life and sh looked sensational. The first lipstick I ever wore was hers (I must have been two years old or so. She went out and bought me my own little-kid brand).

Well, today I get up, open my email and find this, via Agent Bedhead:
Toys made in China aren't the only products laced with dangerous heavy metals: lipstick manufactured in the United States and used daily by millions of American women also contains surprisingly high levels of lead, according to new product tests released today by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis. Top findings include:

More than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61 percent) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient.

One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s 0.1 ppm limit for lead in candy – a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Lipstick products, like candy, are directly ingested into the body. Nevertheless, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, which fits with the disturbing absence of FDA regulatory oversight and enforcement capacity for the $50 billion personal care products industry.
If you follow their links they also have a question and answer section and a PDF copy of their report.

The report, you can see if you open the link, features a photo of a cute little girl and is titled "A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick". Hmmm. Remember what I was saying about "for the children" arguments the other day?

The study claims that "Women inadvertently (but harmlessly) eat about 4lbs of lipstick in a lifetime." Considering my early start, I must be working my way into my 6th lb or so. Not one of the symptoms described (learning, language and behavioral problems such as reduced school performance and increased aggression, infertility and miscarriage) have ever happened so far. However, if you try to separate me from my red lipstick it may lead to increased aggression on my part.

I read the full report and what it comes down is that it calls for yet more government intervention and regulation. Why am I not surprised?

After reading the report I've made an informed decision:
"I have only five words for you: From my cold, dead hands."

Which, by the way, will be wearing OPI Big Apple Red nail polish:

(And before you ask, that is a photo of my hand, but the red lipstick gif came from here)

Do you like red lipstick, or do you hate it? Answer the survey!

Janette emails,
Here's a link that kind of talks about what I mentioned in your comments, Fausta.
Lead in Candy Likely To Be Consumed Frequently by Small Children: Recommended Maximum Level and Enforcement Policy

The allowable lead level in candy was .5ppm until 2006 which means that all of US grew up eating a lot more lead as a tasty treat than what's currently in our lipsticks.

And we turned out fine.


IMHO this is just a case of another wacky "consumer's rights group" trying to get free publicity on the tailcoats of another hot story (lead in children's toys).

About the "Campaign for Safe Cosmetics"

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a coalition of women's, public health, labor, environmental health and consumer-rights groups.

Founding groups of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust, and Women's Voices for the Earth
And more:
Snopes had already debunked this story in 2004. But it's never too late for Safe Cosmetics to drive its agenda, isn't it?

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At 11:00 AM, Anonymous Janette said...

Eh, the survey loads weird for me. I'm not a huge fan of red lipstick on me, I'm so fair that unless it's a subtle shade I look like a clown. Or a hooker who services clowns. Anyway...

I'm a freak for lipstick. I think Jody or Beth challenged me to count them once and I'm embarrassed to tell the results. Seriously. And I don't even wear makeup that often. I just love lipstick.

I'm with you, sister, my cold, dead hands.

Besides, I think that the whole thing has been blown out of proportion. I think there's more allowable lead in hard candy than what they've found in lipstick. I can't remember where I saw those stats but if I find them I'll email it to you. It will make you feel better about your lipstick. :)

At 11:25 AM, Blogger Douglas V. Gibbs said...

first smoking comes under attack (not that I smoke, or anything), then toys become dangerous (China trying to get at our kids?), now lipstick. What's next? Are they going to slip lead into fast food?

At 2:15 PM, Blogger SJ Reidhead said...

I am so glad someone has decided to comment on the truly important things of life!

You and 6lbs? Try my Prescriptives custom mix with extra mint flavoring!

Isn't all of this getting a little absurd. My mother has been wearing lipstick (constantly) since she was 15. She is now 77. I see no symptoms of lead poisoning. Same thing with her 81 year old sister. This leads me to conclude the "H" with it. I'll wear all the lipstick I want!

SJ Reidhead
The Pink Flamingo

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous kalliope said...

I'm with you!! I am a lipstick girl too. Although my color-trained eye would not classify me as a true red user, in the part of the country I live in, the Pacific NW… it’s pretty dang close! If all else fails “put a little lipstick on” is my mantra. I learned this from my mom.

The news about elevated lead levels in some lipsticks was news in Europe 18 months ago. I heard about this from a friend in Holland in April 2006. Why did the news take so long to get to this country?

I suppose what bothers me the most… I don’t think it’s going to make one bit of difference. I’ll take the risk, before these lips go pale

At 9:55 PM, Anonymous Bleepless said...

I stopped worrying about such nonsense the very day I learned that bacon and Scotch had been denounced as carcinogens. Hell with 'em!

At 8:24 AM, Anonymous GM Roper said...

Food nazis have now been joined by the makeup nazis Linked to you at my blog.

At 11:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, kids dying from lead in toys. Now, they find high levels of lead in lipsticks. What's next - lead in food? Are women going to start dying now too from using lipstick too much?


There's a detailed report about it at http://www.myproductalert.com/lead-in-lipsticks.html


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