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A statement from the Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors organization addresses an article discussing the testing of lead levels in lipsticks.
A May 2013 report titled "Concentrations and Potential Health Risks of Metals in Lip Products" from the University of California at Berkeley analyzed 32 lip products (lipsticks and lip glosses) to measure levels of nine metals: lead, aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel, and titanium. The report was published in the Journal of Environmental Health Perspectives.
Higher levels of titanium and aluminum were detected in the lip products because they are common ingredients approved for use in cosmetics by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Titanium dioxide is an FDA-approved colorant and widely used both in lipstick and as a food ingredient. Aluminum is approved by the FDA for use as a colorant in cosmetics and in food, often used to make color more stable. Colorants are approved by the FDA and batch certified, contrary to the opinion stated in the Berkeley article. While levels of titanium and aluminum found were low, they were higher than any of the other analyzed metals.
The issue of lead in lipstick has long been studied and thoroughly addressed by FDA, first in 2009 and then more recently in 2011, when expanded findings were published. The FDA states, "We have assessed the potential for harm to consumers from use of lipstick containing lead at the levels found in both rounds of testing. Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick."