by Sana Saeed
Lipstick makes your lips silky and bright. It may even make you feel more feminine.
But it may be hazardous to your health.
So says the latest study by University of California at Berkeley researchers, who found metals in every one of 32 lipsticks and lip glosses like Burt’s Bee that they tested. These metals included lead, cadmium, manganese and chronium, which are used as color additives.
“It scares me that (metals) are getting in my skin,” said Danny Sola, a senior.
In a small study published last week, researchers asked teenage girls to hand over their lipsticks and glosses and tested them for toxic metals, including lead and cadmium.
Even though the metal content was different for each brand, researchers found that women who apply lipstick two to three times daily can ingest a significant amount—20 percent of the daily amount that’s considered safe in drinking water or more—of aluminum, cadmium, chromium, and manganese.
Women who slathered it on (14 times a day or more) met or surpassed the daily recommended exposure to chromium, aluminum, and manganese. Lead, a metal that humans should avoid, was detected in 75 percent of the samples.
Darlisha McClothen wears Maybelline Baby Lips. “I never thought of lipstick as being dangerous.”
Students said they expected the government — specifically The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) — to protect them from dangerous cosmetics. “It’s very horrible, so horrible (that the FDA is not looking out for us), ” said 16-year-old Katina Degraffenreed, whose favorite brands were on the list. “Now, I won’t wear it much, now that I know it has lead.”
Right now, the FDA regulates how much of these substances can be in pigment, but doesn’t specify how much metal overall is allowed in a tube of lipstick. And the FDA itself doesn’t test the dozens of dyes used in cosmetics or set the maximum amounts of metals in them, UC Berkeley researcher Katharine Hammond told The San Francisco Chronicle.
As for students, not all are ignoring the study. “From now on, I’m using olive oil,” said Sola.