Lead in Lipsticks (3 of 9)

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Home => Product Reports => Lead in Lipsticks (3 of 9)

Lead in Lipsticks

What are the risks to your health with continuous exposure to lead?

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The Nemours Foundation reports: "When the body is exposed to lead (by being inhaled, swallowed, or in a small number of cases, absorbed through the skin) it can act as a poison. Exposure to high levels of lead in a short period of time is called acute toxicity. Exposure to small amounts of lead over a long period of time is called chronic toxicity.

Lead is particularly dangerous because once it gets into a person's system, it is distributed throughout the body just like helpful minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc. And lead can cause harm wherever it lands in the body. In the bloodstream, for example, it can damage red blood cells and limit their ability to carry oxygen to the organs and tissues that need it.

Most lead ends up in the bone, where it causes even more problems. Lead can interfere with the production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium that bones need to grow healthy and strong. Calcium is essential for strong bones and teeth, muscle contraction, and nerve and blood vessel function."

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics issued the following explanation on how lead affects your health:

Lead, a proven neurotoxin linked to learning and behavioral disorders, is one of the most studied heavy metals.

Exposure to lead can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, impulsiveness, reduced school performance, increases in aggression, seizures and brain damage, anemia, and, after long exposure, damage to the kidneys.

Lead has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in both men and women, hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities and delays in the onset of puberty.

Pregnant women and young children exposed to lead are particularly vulnerable. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it interferes with normal development.

Increased blood levels of lead early in life can result in decreased attention span, reading disabilities, and failure to graduate from high school.

Given that lead does not break down in the body but accumulates over time, small amounts of lead can add up to harm. For inner city communities where children and adults have higher levels of lead from old paint in buildings and old water pipes, the lead in lipstick is unnecessarily adding to levels of harm that are already too high.

On The Lips, In The Body

We are a culture in love with lipstick - a love that for many women starts early. A 2004 survey of cosmetics use by 5,856 U.S. girls aged 7 to 19 found that 63 percent of the girls aged 10 and younger reported using lipstick.

When we lick our lips, eat and drink while wearing lipstick, or kiss someone who is wearing lipstick, we ingest the lipstick's ingredients. Glamour magazine's June 2002 "Beauty Quickie Tip" repeats a commonly quoted statistic, "Women inadvertently (but harmlessly) eat about 4 lbs of lipstick in a lifetime." Unfortunately, the latest science shows that no level of lead is "harmless."

Manuscript Published by The University of Michigan provided the following explanation on how lead affects your health:

Sources of exposure: air pollution, ammunition (shot and bullets), bathtubs (cast iron porcelain steel), batteries, canned foods, ceramics, chemical fertilizers, cosmetics, dolomite dust, foods grown around industrial areas, gasoline, hair dyes and rinses, leaded glass, newsprint and colored advertisements, paints, pesticides, pewter pottery, rubber toys, soft coal, soil, solder, tap water, tobacco smoke and vinyl 'mini-blinds'.

Target tissues: Bones, brain, heart, kidneys, liver, nervous system and pancreas.

Signs and Symptoms: Abdominal pain, anemia, anorexia, anxiety, bone pain, brain damage, confusion, constipation, convulsions, dizziness, drowsiness, fatigue, headaches, hypertension, inability to concentrate, indigestion, irritability, loss of appetite, loss of muscle, coordination, memory difficulties, miscarriage, muscle pain, pallor, tremors, vomiting and weakness.

The toxicity of lead is widely acknowledged. The greatest risk for harm even with only minute or short-term exposure is to infants, young children and pregnant women.

A federal study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) in 1984 estimated that three to four million American children have an unacceptably high level of lead in their blood.

Dr. Suzanne Binder a CDCP official stated "Many people believed that when lead paint was banned from housing [in 1978] and lead was cut from gasoline [in the late 1970s] lead-poisoning problems disappeared but they're wrong.

We know that throughout the country children of all races and ethnicities and income levels are being affected by lead [already in the environment]."

In their book 'Toxic Metal Syndrome' Dr.'s R. Casdorph and M. Walker report that over 4 million tons of lead is mined each year and existing environmental lead levels are at least 500 times greater than pre-historic levels.

All children born in the U.S. today have measurable traces of pesticides a source of heavy metals and chlorine-based chemicals in their tissues.

Lead is a known neurotoxin (kills brain cells) and excessive blood lead levels in children have been linked to learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder (ADD), hyperactivity syndromes and reduced intelligence and school achievement scores.

The List of Lipsticks That Were Tested for Lead


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Lead in Lipsticks