Lipstick: Safety Measure Should not be Ignored

Lipstick: Safety Measure Should not be Ignored

The Alliance for Safe Practice (ASP), a non-profit organization, promoting research and safety in permanent cosmetic practices, offers support and solutions to consumers and cosmetic manufacturers facing potential product recalls amid recent reports that many of the top brands of lipstick sold in the US contain high levels of lead and applying lead-containing lipstick several times a day, every day can add up to significant lead exposure.

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will be looking into claims that some lipstick brands contain detectable levels of the metal lead. Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. No matter how exotic or novel the color additive or its intended use, it is subject to the same regulations as the more everyday colors and products.

Recently, some activist groups have claimed that cosmetics pose dangers to our health, and may even be cancer-causing. Since these products are very common, it is important to evaluate the scientific accuracy of these claims. So, before you empty your medicine cabinet of all of that supposedly lethal lipstick, deadly deodorant, and toxic toothpaste, take a moment to consider the facts about cosmetics.

"The cosmetics industry has a lead problem," says Stacy Malkan, a spokeswoman for the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. The brands with the highest lead levels included:

The Food and Drug Administration said it would look into claims from an advocacy group that certain lipsticks contain potentially dangerous levels of lead. Similar claims in the past have not been confirmed, the agency said.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said that a third of the 33 red lipsticks examined by an independent lab contained a level of lead exceeding 0.1 parts per million — which is the FDA's limit for lead in candy. The FDA does not set a limit for lead in lipstick.

The organization commissioning the lipstick study says its goal is to pressure companies to remove toxic chemicals from their products and replace them with safer alternatives. The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory last month on red lipsticks bought in Boston, San Francisco, Minneapolis and Hartford, Conn., the organization said.

The FDA said concerns about lead in lipstick have been raised occasionally in the print media and on the Internet.

"These concerns have not generally been supported by FDA's own analysis of products on the market. In the present case, we are looking into the specific details of the issues raised," said Stephanie Kwisnek, a spokeswoman at the FDA. "We will need to confirm the factual basis of these reports independently in order to determine what action, if any, may be needed to protect public health."

The trade association representing the cosmetic industry acknowledged "negligible" levels of lead in some lipsticks, but said it is not intentionally added.

"Consumers are exposed daily to lead when they eat, drink water and breathe the air," said John Bailey, an executive vice president at the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association. "The average amount of lead a woman would be exposed to when using cosmetics is 1,000 times less than the amount she would get from eating, breathing, and drinking water that meet Environmental Protection Agency drinking water standards."

Lead is in batteries, paints, ceramics, and soldering and building materials. Until recently, lead was added to automobile fuel. It has even been used in medications and cosmetics (lead exposures include cosmetics (especially the Asian cosmetics surma and kohl).

Experts say pregnant women should pay extra attention, wherever there's lead, because it's most harmful to developing brains. Lead poisoning can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. Lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and, at very high levels, seizures, coma, and even death. In particular, lead has been tentatively linked with cancers of the lung, brain, stomach, and kidneys.

The greatest risk of injury from lead poisoning is to children under the age of seven, whose developing bodies and brains are sensitive to even small amounts of lead, which can leave children with irreversible injury that does not appear until many years after the exposure to lead. In the fetus and young children, elevated lead may damage the brain, resulting in persistent neurological dysfunction.

Wool wax poisoning is from swallowing products that contain lanolin and cause diarrhea, rash, swelling and redness of skin, vomiting like symptoms. This lanolin may contain within makeup such as; lipstick, powder, foundation.

Some cosmetics such as lipsticks, lotions and skin cleansers may contain aspirin or a salicylate compound. Some people have a low level of tolerance (sensitivity) to salicylates and may have reactions if more than a small amount is consumed at one time. Symptoms of salicylate sensitivity vary but may include asthma-like symptoms (such as trouble breathing and wheezing), headaches and/or nasal congestion, changes in skin color, itching, skin rash or hives, swelling of the hands and feet, swelling of the face, and stomach pain.

Various types of sores can appear anywhere within the mouth, including the inner cheeks, gums, tongue, lips, or palate. To prevent the spread of herpes sores, do not kiss or have oral sex with someone with a cold sore or fever blister. Do not participate in these activities when you have an active cold sore. Do not share razors, lip balm, toothbrushes, or lipsticks.

After washing, there could be lipstick stains still left on a few glasses, but it was the least hospitable substance for bacteria,” Pascall said. “It seems to have antimicrobial properties, which was a big surprise to us; experts stated.

Dr. Bill Dorfman, a dentist also warns women that a herpes outbreak in the mouth or on the face should be a call to action. His advice: Throw away your lipstick and throw away your makeup, along with your toothbrush.

Is your mascara clumpy? Your liquid foundation thickening? Can’t remember what year you bought your half-used lipstick? Dermatologists say your old makeup may be causing you blemishes or even worse—it could lead to a dangerous infection. Those old makeup containers may be full of more than just powder; they could be harboring dangerous bacteria.

Sharing lipsticks is another way that makeup can cause health problems. Sharing lipsticks, lip glosses or lip balms with someone who may have a strain of the herpes virus could leave you with cold sores of your own. Remember, people can harbor this particular virus on their lips without having an active cold sore so it will not always be visible.

An inflammation of the mucous lining of any structure related to the mouth like the tongue, gums, throat, cheeks, lips or the roof or floor of the mouth is called as "Stomatitis". There is redness, swelling, occasional bleeding and bad breath. It can affect the infant as well as the elderly. This stomatitis might be due to sensitivity to mouthwashes, toothpastes and lipstick.

Some forms of bacterial meningitis and encephalitis are contagious and can be spread through contact with saliva, nasal discharge, feces, or respiratory and throat secretions (often spread through kissing, coughing, or sharing drinking glasses, eating utensils, or such personal items as toothbrushes, lipstick, or cigarettes).

That lipstick or nail polish you may be wearing may contain a host of largely unregulated chemicals and toxic ingredients. Some of those chemicals— phthalates, formaldehyde, petroleum, parabens, benzene and lead—have been variously linked to breast cancer, endometriosis, reproductive disorders, birth defects and developmental disabilities in children.

Environmental Working Group (EWG), an advocacy organization based in Washington, DC examined 711 lipstick products and found that 28% contained ingredients associated with cancer risk from chemicals like butylated hydroxytoluene, Nylon 6, ferric oxide, polyethylene, and titanium dioxide. Toxic metals can be found in moisturizer, lotion, sun block, sunscreen, mascara, eye shadow, rouge, face powder, lipstick, and theatrical and clown makeup. Health effects may include nausea, cramps, vomiting, skin rash, joint and bone pain, mouth sores, cancer, stillbirths, genetic damage, immune dysfunction, brain and learning disorders, and impulsive and violent behavior.

A mother's lipsticked kiss shouldn't be dangerous. The cosmetics industry needs to clean up its act and remove lead and other toxic ingredients from their products.


How long to keep it: Two years or longer

Expert explanation: "It's so apparent as soon as you take the top off and put it under your nose," said Damiana Zullo, director of product and packaging development for Bliss. "If there's a strong, waxy smell, get rid of it. Do not wear any make-up, lipstick, or nail polish before 24 hours your surgery.

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