26 August, 2008

The Kiss of Lead

Most women would not admit it but it is true. We do find our favorite lipstick irresistible and I’m not talking about the shade or the gloss here. Many women cannot stop themselves from flicking their tongues across their lips for the ‘fruity flavor’ which is the USP of most leading cosmetic brands. Little do they know that with every ‘helping’, they are taking in a dangerous amount of lead which can play havoc on their bodies in the long run owing to its well-known toxic effects. This becomes a bigger cause of concern when little girls try on their mama’s make-up and preen in front of the mirror and more so with pregnant and lactating mothers.

A recent study by a consumer group revealed that 61% of lipsticks contained significant amount of lead in spite of FDA specifying the ’safe limit’ to less than 0.02 ppm (parts per million ). This category includes reputed and ‘high-end’ brands like L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior which contained 0.03-0.65 ppm of lead. The study was part of The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

On the outset, these numbers may seem harmless but one should bear it in mind that lead is not as easily expelled from the body as other toxins has the potential of accumulating in the tissues thus affecting health in the long run. Since women apply lip-sick several times a day and everyday, the amount of lead ingested consciously and sub-consciously can be quite alarming. Exposure to lead and its compounds can cause severe mental and physical disability and it is also known to cause infertility and miscarriage.

A few brands however, like Estee Lauder, Avon, Revlon and Wet and Wild and Body Shop have got the clean chit and were found to fall within the ’safe bracket’. So next time you go shopping for a lippie, make sure you do your homework beforehand for the sake of your and your children’s health.

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