Yikes!! Who Wants Lead Lips?

A runway look from Jill Stuart’s Fall ’07 collection

No, I’m not talking about the new dark-lip look that’s been spotted on runways from Olivier Theyskens to Jill Stuart to Tuleh….. Treehugger reported last Friday that new independent lab tests by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found that:

More than half of 33 top-brand lipsticks tested (61%) contained detectable levels of lead, with levels ranging from 0.03 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). One-third of the lipsticks exceeded the 0.1 ppm FDA lead limit for candy – a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead. Among the brands tested found to have the highest lead levels were L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Christian Dior – showing that the more expensive brands are no safer than drugstore brands.

And in case you think a little lead can’t do much damage (bolding mine):

The most recent scientific studies indicate that there is no safe level of lead – no amount of exposure is without harm. Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems. Lead is also linked to infertility and miscarriage. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to exposure because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain, where it interferes with normal development. Lead does not break down in the body, but builds up over a lifetime of exposures.

Check out a piece I recently wrote for The Daily Green for a run-down of all sorts of gorgeous, organic lipsticks. After all….

When it doesn’t end up on the edge of a glass or wiped off on a napkin, where do you think it goes? While you might not look at your tube of lipstick and imagine biting it off and swallowing it, that’s basically what happens over time. If I’m essentially eating my lipstick, I want it to be composed of natural and organic ingredients, just like my food.

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.