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Four hundred types of lipstick test positive for lead, FDA finds

A total of four hundred lipsticks sold in Kentucky and the rest of the United States have tested positive for trace amounts of lead, according to a study conducted by the Food and Drug Administration. The lead was detected in a wide range of brands, including L'Oreal and Maybelline.

The lipstick brands could be dangerous products if encountered by small children, according to some medical experts, but others say the lead levels are insignificant for persons of any age.

Critics of the lead levels warn that the lead exposure could cause developmental problems for children due to brain damage. Although this is most likely harmless if encountered from time to time, daily use of the lipstick products could increase the risk.

The highest lead content of any lipstick product contained 7.19 parts per million. By contrast, all products made for children are required to contain less than 100 parts per million. This means all the lipstick products were well below the regulated limit.

But some parents may be concerned about exposing their children to lead in any amount, and there are lead-free lipstick alternatives available on the market. Additionally, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics contends that no amount of lead should be considered safe. It is pushing for the government to adopt stricter lead regulations regarding lipstick products.

Although the lead content could not likely get the lipstick manufacturers in trouble as the law currently stands, it does illustrate the potential risks posed by cosmetics and other products, and reminds consumers to be wary of the products they allow themselves to come in contact with.

Source: USA Today, "FDA finds trace amounts of lead in 400 lipsticks," Tara Meyer, Feb. 16, 2012

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