Your Lipstick May Contain Traces of Lead (But It’s Probably Harmless!)

Danielle Emig

Woman applying lipstick

Lipstick lovers: You may or may not want to reconsider your favorite products. The EU recently attempted to ban key ingredients in some fragrances like Chanel No.5 because of health reasons, and now “Good Morning America” reports that they found traces of lead in lipstick.

GMA apparently bought 22 different lipsticks from a variety of brands in all different colors and found that 55% of them (more than half!) had traces of lead. While that alone may worry you, what’s even more worrisome is that the FDA doesn’t have a legal limit on the amount of lead that can exist in lipsticks—so having lead in one’s lipstick isn’t breaking any rules. The industry creates its own standards, according to Roy Lamothe, Underwriters Laboratories general manager (the lab that did the lead testing for GMA).

The lead levels found in the report went up to 3.22 parts per million, which is below the limit in California and Europe and is less than what the FDA found in 2010 when they tested lipstick (the highest was 7 parts per million back then).

According to ABC News, anti-lead activists say that there should be no traces of lead in lipstick. While the FDA says small traces of lead in lipstick is safe, it definitely becomes a different story when children are involved—either from something as simple as a kiss from a parent to a child playing dress-up with a mother’s lipstick. According to the report, lead can actually be passed from mother to baby, which worries activists because it can affect IQ levels, behavior, and ability to learn. (Lead in paint and home environments is, of course, far more dangerous.)

“Good Morning America” didn’t report which lipsticks they tested or which ones contained lead, but they did say that they didn’t find any pattern in which brands or colors had lead in them, so if you want to avoid it, you may have to avoid lipstick altogether.

What do you think, does this concern you or will you continue to wear your favorite red lipstick? Let us know in the comments below!