Kiss of Death? Feb18

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Raquel Benson

is a Senior Contributor to TDA, a journalism student, humanist, and artist with issues of chronic imagination. She may be brash, but it stems from a deeper concern for the world around her.

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Kiss of Death?

Social Issues – The cosmetic industry is under fire after a new study released by the FDA has detailed the horrifying truth about the dangerous chemicals in makeup. It turns out that four hundred types of lipstick, currently available on the shelves of major national brand retail outlets, have tested positive for lead.

It should really come as no surprise that there are dangerous chemicals in lipstick, especially when we reported last year that Oscar Wilde’s tomb was being eaten away by lipstick and had to be replaced.

Here’s one to watch out for: Maybelline Color Sensations (by L’Oreal USA); apparently this was the most offensive as it was found to be packed with more than 275 times the amount of lead than the least-contaminated lip color. In fact, “five of the nine lipstick brands with the most lead are sold by L’Oreal (OREP.PA), the world’s largest cosmetics maker.”

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is pushing for the FDA to “set a limit or how much lead lipstick can contain, and to study whether there are any dangers to having the substance applied to human lips, particularly the lips of children and pregnant women.”

Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the campaign suggested that “there is no safe level of lead exposure” and “we need to be protecting women and children from all levels of exposure.”

“When these companies are asked about these chemicals, they argue, ‘it’s legal, so it’s OK,’[…]That’s why we’re calling for the FDA to set a standard and give guidance to these companies for the best manufacturing practices,” said Malkan.

Even trace amounts of lead can cause serious damage, and it’s especially harmful to children, as the poison can cause brain and blood disorders in the developmental years. Considering how many children like to play “dress-up” with mommy’s make-up, hopefully more people will be turning to safer organic products.

Lipstick isn’t the only culprit in the realm of unhealthy products, and Kim Anderson, executive director of Ava Anderson Non-Toxic, warns that customers should “shy away from any product that lists ‘fragrance’ as an ingredient.”

“If they’re using the word fragrance, that company could be hiding up to 600 chemicals under that word,” said Anderson. “Seventy-five percent of the time, fragrances contain phthalates, a known-carcinogen that causes reproductive issues in the body.”

Learn more about the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ “Kiss Lead Goodbye” contest here.

Read more at ABC News and at Reuters.