Friday, April 16, 2010

Lipstick or poison on your lips?

46 Varieties, Also Leading Brands, Contain Lead Toxins: CERS Study

Next time you pick up that innocuous-looking colour stick from your dressing table, think twice! The latest study conducted by Consumer Education and Research Society (CERS), Ahmedabad, revealed that many popular lipstick brands have a high lead content. Some interesting findings were that the luscious reds were less poisonous than the sober browns and the lesser priced lipsticks had less lead than the premium brands.


CERS tested 46 varieties of lipsticks in the laboratory which included 43 shades of 19 widely used brands, and three lip glosses, all of which had lead toxins. The lipsticks costing Rs 10 had lead content ranging from 2 particles per million (ppm) to 17 ppm. The lipsticks priced over Rs 100 had 11 ppm to 23 ppm of lead. Of the varieties tested, Ivovi 10 (brown) revealed 25 parts per million (ppm) and Lakme D414 (red) 23 ppm which are higher than the permissible limit of 20 ppm by Bureau of Indian Standard. Maybelline 09 Water Shine Liquid Diamond lipgloss had the highest among lipglosses at 12 ppm.

“There is no safe lead exposure for humans. Lead is a neurotoxin causing learning, language and behavioral problems. Exposure to lead also develops infertility and miscarriage. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure,’’ the report says.

The higher the cost of the lipstick, the lower it scores on the safety, reveal tests. The Rs 10 worth Personi 140 Matte (magenta) contained only 2 ppm, whereas L'Oreal 903 Color Riche (brown), priced at Rs 490, contained 17 ppm of Lead. The results of the laboratory tests were published in the consumer magazine brought out by CERS.

Besides, manufacturers were also found to have violated mandatory labeling requirement. The batch number was missing in 23 lipsticks and 1 lip gloss, 10 lipsticks and 2 lip glosses had no license number. There were 33 varieties of lipsticks without date of manufacture or expiry. The CERS have approached the BIS to lower limit of permissible lead content in colours from 20 ppm to 0 ppm in cosmetics. They have also asked BIS to make it mandatory for manufacturers to display list of ingredients, maximum retail price, date of manufacture and expiry on products below pack size of 10gm or 10 ml.