Four hundred types of lipstick from brands such as L’Oreal SA (OR) and The Procter & Gamble Co. contain trace amounts of lead, according to U.S. regulators who are evaluating whether to recommend an acceptable limit.
L’Oreal’s Color Sensational Pink Petal topped the list of brands purchased between February and July 2010 that were tested for lead by the Food and Drug Administration, with 7.19 parts per million, the agency said on its website. Paris-based L’Oreal made half of the 10 lipsticks with the highest lead levels, though all are safe, the FDA said.
Products sampled in 2010 had average concentrations of 1.11 parts per million, close to the average of 1.07 parts per million in a smaller survey the FDA conducted in 2007. Lead exposure can lead to kidney damage, reduced IQ and behavioral and attention problems, according to the National Institutes of Health, with pregnant women and young children most vulnerable. The agency doesn’t set limits for lead in cosmetics.
“Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities,” the agency said on its website. “The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities.”
L’Oreal lipsticks are in compliance with FDA regulations and European Union requirements for consumer safety, L’Oreal spokeswoman Rebecca Caruso said in an e-mailed statement from L’Oreal.
“L’Oreal maintains the highest standards for safety and consumers can use all of our products with complete confidence,” she said in the statement.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 lipsticks for lead in 2007 and found more than half contained the metal. The Washington-based campaign called on makers to remove lead and renewed the push earlier this month, singling out L’Oreal.
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