lipstick metais

Is your lipstick dangerous?


If you read much health news, you might think there is contamination everywhere: bacteria in meats and eggs, pesticides on fruits and vegetables, dangerous gases in the air, and who knows what in the water we drink.

And it is true—undoubtedly all of us consume our daily share of undesirable things, and yet we still survive. Usually only when the level of contamination is very high do we notice the problem, but chronic exposure to low levels of contaminants likely increases the risk of certain cancers, endocrine problems in children, and even birth defects.

Unless we live in a bubble and grow all our own organic food and control our water supply, we are exposed to toxins daily, and, while we can’t eliminate all of the risk, a reasonable goal might be to do our best to decrease exposure to contaminates in our water, food, air, and what medications and chemicals we use in and on our body.

One of these areas, where, if we are aware, we might do a better job of decreasing exposure was presented in a recent research paper from the University of California, Berkeley (USA) and published recently in Environmental Health Perspectives. The researchers, led by Dr. Katharine Hammond, looked at the level of metal contamination in 32 different and popular lipsticks and lip glosses.

They were most concerned about the levels of lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum, and manganese. They found various levels of metal contamination in all the products, and some were enough to cause long-term problems if used frequently in significant amounts. The researchers calculated the amount of each metal versus the ADI or “acceptable daily intake”, and the details are in their report.

The concern is that unless the lipstick is blotted off, or kissed onto someone, a small amount is being absorbed and swallowed throughout the day, and can accumulate in our body. The amount of contamination from the lipstick alone might not be enough to cause problems, but we also ingest these contaminants in our diet, so adding it up everyday, over years, could contribute to a person developing, for example, serious kidney problems (from cadmium)—especially if the person has other factors compromising their kidneys—or to an increased risk of stomach tumors from excessive chromium. Cadmium is also a suspected risk factor for breast cancer.

The researchers did not list the products that might be “safer” than others, as manufacturers frequently change formulas, and the source of the various pigments change. And none of the products stood out as being totally safe; they all were contaminated in some way.

Still, we need to put all this into perspective. Dr. Hammond explained “I don’t think that people should go into a panic, or abandon lipstick, but I do think this is a concern,” she said. “I don’t think this is trivial. It needs to be addressed.”

The measures you might take to diminish the risk:

1) Use less throughout the day, or re-apply less often, perhaps 2 or 3 times per day, and blot off the excess. Don’t lick it off.

2) Email or call your favorite lipstick manufacturer to tell them that heavy metal contamination is a concern. Note that “natural” products may not be any safer, as these metals occur “naturally” in the soil where some pigments are derived. The manufacturer has to actively remove the metal contamination to make a safe product. Unless people complain, they probably won’t take that extra step.

3) Don’t let children play with your cosmetics. Dr. Hammond says “Treat it like something dangerous, because if they eat it we are taking about a comparatively large level of metals going into a small body,” she said.

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Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)

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