Because you might be giving me lead poisoning.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sponsored tests that showed traces of lead in many popular brands of lipstick, like L’Oreal Colour Riche (which I only mention because some happens to be in my bag right now). The CSC claim the levels found — some up to .65 parts per million — exceeded safe levels, using the FDA’s limit of .1ppm set for candy.
So, let’s get something clear: no amount of lead is good for you, and if you can avoid ingesting it, you should. Like, don’t chew on the windowsill of your historic lake house, or lick anything made in China, or make a turkey and lead hoagie. But when we’re using candy as a marker for how much lead should be in lipstick, we should probably critically examine the differences between those two items.
For starters, you eat candy by the handful. Unless you suffer from pica, you spread lipstick thinly on your lips and occasionally ingest whatever doesn’t end up on your wine glass. Other differences:
- candy is delicious, lipstick is not
- candy is cheap, lipstick is too damned expensive
- there aren’t twenty partially-consumed Jolly Ranchers taking up room in my bathroom cabinet
But I digress. The CSC blasts the FDA for not setting a limit on the amount of allowable lead in lipstick. From their press release:
Nevertheless, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, which fits with the disturbing absence of FDA regulatory oversight and enforcement capacity for the $50 billion personal care products industry.
That’s crazy, because the FDA actually has an Office of Cosmetics and Colors. They even have a rainbow banner image. What are they doing over there? Even John Kerry’s in a tizzy about the lack of accountability:
FDAâ€™s Office of Cosmetics and Colors has described major gaps in federal authority over cosmetic safety: â€œ…a cosmetic manufacturer may use almost any raw material as a cosmetic ingredient and market the product without an approval from FDA.â€
Plus, apparently they’re not getting the money they need. So, basically we have a report that is probably being overhyped but an important oversight agency that’s being underfunded. Negative points for everyone — including (especially) the consumers.