Both Canada and the European Union regulate allowable levels of heavy metals in cosmetics. The EU has banned the presence of cadmium, chromium and lead altogether in cosmetics. The Canadian government has set limits for the content of antimony, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, mercury and lead in cosmetics. They’re still trying to determine what levels are avoidable in the manufacturing process. That’s because many studies have found that government limits for heavy metals are much higher than what can be avoided in manufacture.
Canada’s Environmental Defense organization found that the highest levels of arsenic, cadmium and lead are found in lipsticks and lip glosses.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US does not regulate heavy metal content in cosmetics.
The FDA itself doesn’t even test the dozens of dyes used in cosmetics or set the maximum amounts of metals in them; it outsourced that job years ago to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review, an organization established in 1976 by a cosmetics-industry-aligned trade and lobbying group. Over the years, the US has banned 22 chemicals outright. For comparison, the EU currently bans more than 1,300 chemicals.
While the FDA does limit lead in certain color additives used in cosmetics, it doesn’t set limits on lead in final products. This is troubling because heavy metals accumulate in the body over time. Low amounts can add up to big effects!
Never let your children play with makeup, Berkeley researchers say that “No level of lead exposure appears to be ‘safe’ and even the current ‘low’ levels of exposure in children are associated with neurodevelopmental deficits.”
While children are more susceptible to lead than adults, both can suffer from lead poisoning as it accumulates over time. Lead accumulation can affect the central nervous system, immune system and the kidneys. Its symptoms vary so widely that they are easily misdiagnosed. In adults, lead poisoning can show up as fatigue, irritability and sleeplessness, reproductive problems, joint, muscle and headaches, poor appetite, nervousness or constipation.
Lipstick and glosses are often ingested over the course of the day so the impact of any toxin is heightened above and beyond skin absorption levels. According to prior research, Berkeley scientists estimated average lipstick use as twice-a-day applications and heavy use as applying lip gloss or lipstick 10 times a day.
One application spreads 10 milligrams of product across a woman’s lips, most of which is ingested. Average use of lipstick means that a woman ingests about 24 milligrams of product. Women that apply lipstick or lip gloss frequently may be ingesting as much as 87 milligrams of product per day.
The researchers compared what the women were likely ingesting in lip products to health standards for heavy metal consumption like those defined by the EPA for drinking water. They found that average lipstick or lip gloss use in these products resulted in women exceeding daily intake guidelines for aluminum, cadmium, chromium and manganese. In 10 of the products they looked at, daily use meant that a woman would exceed chromium intake recommendations by 100 percent.
Think and choose well when it comes to you red lipstick, one of the metals contained in some lipsticks and most red ones, is Cadmium, which is found in breast cancer tissue and has been found to help cancer cells multiply.
You can read more at BreastCancerFund.org
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