Heavy metal lips

I just discovered a facebook page called “There’s lead in your lipstick”. Maybe I should start one called “There’s even more lead in your drinking water”. Heavy metal poisoning should not be taken lightly, it’s a serious issue, but the lead in lipstick fiasco no longer has any traction. Trace levels of lead are ubiquitous in our environment – in the soil, the plants that grow in it, the water that passes through it. We should be vigilant. But when you realize that you ingest more lead by drinking water every day, than you would if you consumed a whole tube of lipstick with your conflakes, this puts the matter into true perspective.

Why should I worry anyway, I don’t wear lipstick. And, since men have higher lead levels than women (because we shoot each other more often?) the lipstick factor isn’t making a huge difference. Average lead levels in US lipstick: 1 ppm (0.0001%). Found in one Chinese brand (not sold in the US): 3,760 ppm (0.37%). Two other Chinese-made lipsticks had over 2,000 ppm. If you live in China, don’t buy the lipstick. If you live in the US, this is one thing you don’t need to worry about. But if you enjoy worrying, there’s a facebook page called “There’s lead in your lipstick”.

5 comments to Heavy metal lips

  • Absolutely the reason that men have higher lead levels is from shooting each other ;) I was going to be shocked that anyone was getting their panic-worthy news from Facebook, but I see that the Facebook page you mention is linked to a book by Gillian Deacon.

  • Yup, it’s all that shooting each other and beer drinking. Beer has twice as much lead as water or food generally.

  • If lipstick has less lead in it than drinking water water, then we should probably use more lipstick to dilute the effects of water on the body.

  • Mia

    One question, that applies to filtered water as well? Because many people (me included) own water filters that I think are meant to remove chlorine and heavy metals from tap water. And if there’s lead in water, air, food, etc, won’t you think that maybe reducing exposure to heavy metals would be a good thing? I know from where lead comes in a lipstick, and probably there’s no way to avoid it, but maybe recommending to stop or limiting makeup usage would be nicer than blaming people for worrying and caring about their own health and defending the profit hungry beauty industry.

  • Mia, some water filters remove the lead from water, some (such as the pitcher-type) don’t. I agree, reducing exposure to heavy metals is a good thing, if we are being over-exposed. But there is also such a thing as fear-mongering – scaring people for no good reason. I’m not blaming people for being concerned about their own health, I’m saying that it’s inappropriate to mount a massive campaign about lead in lipstick (often implying that the lead is intentionally added because the heartless cosmetic manufacturers don’t care if they poison consumers) while ignoring the fact that the average person consumes very much more lead every day by eating and drinking. I think this puts the matter into perspective. Everything we eat contains toxins, but this does not mean we are being poisoned by our food, any more than we are being poisoned by cosmetics.

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