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FDA Cautions Cosmetic Companies To Limit Lead In Products

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The US Food and Drug Administration is looking to keep lead at safe levels in lipstick and other cosmetics. While many cosmetic products do contain lead, they do so at such low levels that puts users at no risk.

The FDA issued a reminder this week, urging makeup manufacturers to keep lead content in their products at a maximum of 10 parts per million. A statement from the agency says,

FDA has analyzed 685 products and found that more than 99 percent of products tested contain levels of lead that are at or below FDA’s recommended maximum level for lead as an impurity as described in today’s draft guidance.

The tests started after a group called the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found lead content in lipsticks in 2007, NBC News reports. The FDA further states, “The FDA posted the results of its surveys of lipsticks in 2009 and 2011, and today is posting the additional results for cosmetic lip products and from the testing of externally applied cosmetics.”

FDA scientists were able to come up with a way to test lipstick and other cosmetics for lead content, and found that most had only one part per million on average. They add, “Based on our surveys we determined that manufacturers are capable of limiting lead content in cosmetic products to 10 ppm or less if they are careful about selecting their ingredients and follow good manufacturing practices.”

The agency likewise ran some calculations to find out how likely people are to absorb lead from using lipstick, compared to eye shadow, for example. To this end, they say, “The FDA has concluded that use of cosmetics that meet the maximum recommended lead level would not pose a health risk and is not advising consumers to change their current use of cosmetics based on lead levels.”

Guidelines like these are not enforceable, but the FDA warns, “FDA is prepared to take enforcement action against any cosmetic lip product or externally applied cosmetic containing lead at levels that may harm consumers.”

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