27 October 2014

Horrific Lipsticks with Dreadful Lead on Sale in Quiapo, Manila


Some of the scariest consumer products that you may find, Halloween season or not, are ironically sold in beauty shops offering cosmetics with no official market authorization.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, aired this observation after purchasing lipsticks contaminated with lead, a powerful neurotoxin, sold for P28 to P35 each from Quiapo stores selling  beauty and personal care products.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, the group detected lead in five lipsticks in the range of  2,204 parts per million (ppm) to 2,487 ppm, way above the 20 ppm threshold limit for lead under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive.

“The ghastly lead content of these lipsticks should scare the hell out of all of us,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Women wearing such lipstick may ingest toxic lead over the course of the day.  This will contribute to the build up of lead in the body over time.  As scientists have not established a safe level for lead exposure, it’s essential that all unwarranted exposures are avoided,” she warned.

The current science has determined no safe level for lead exposure with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating that “no safe blood lead level has been identified.”

The five lipsticks found laden with lead as per XRF screening, include:

1.  A Baolishi no. 20, 2-in-1 lipstick in old rose canister with 2,419 ppm lead

2.  A Baolishi no. 20, 2-in-1 lipstick in golden canister with 2,394 ppm lead

3.  A Baolishi no. 20 lipstick in yellow canister with 2,361 ppm lead

4.  A Monaliza no. 20 lipstick in green canister with 2,298 ppm lead

5.  A Monaliza no. 20 lipstick in black canister with 2,274 ppm lead

Lucero noted that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the Philippines had twice issued public health warnings in 2013 and 2014 against unregistered lipsticks laced with lead, including five Monaliza lipsticks and 13 Baolishi lipsticks.

She also noted that Bulgarian, Croatian and Czech health authorities have banned the marketing of certain Baolishi lipsticks due to excessive amounts of cadmium and lead.

Lead, a toxic chemical that has no vital use for the human body, may come from the lipstick ingredients that are contaminated with lead, or from the lipstick pigments that contain lead, she pointed out.

According to the US-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “pregnant women are especially vulnerable because lead crosses the placenta and may enter the fetal brain, and has also been linked to miscarriage, and pre-adolescents are also at risk as lead has been linked to a delay in the onset of puberty in girls, and the development of testes in boys.”

“Kids typically apply cosmetics such as face paint and lipstick as part of their Halloween costumes.  It’s crucial that such products are duly registered with the FDA and proven safe from lead and other bacterial or chemical contaminants that can badly affect children’s health ,” Lucero insisted.

As per advice by the FDA, consumers can go to the agency’s website (www.fda.gov.ph) to check if a cosmetic product is duly authorized to be offered for sale in the market. 

Consumers should carefully read the product labels, which should have the following required information by the FDA written in English: a) product name, b) ingredients, c) net content, d) instruction on the use of the products, e) batch number, f) special precautions if any, and g) country of manufacture/importer.

-end-

Reference:
http://safecosmetics.org/article.php?id=292

http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories/cosmetic/103530-fda-advisory
http://www.fda.gov.ph/advisories/cosmetic/153571-fda-advisory-2014-031
www.rapex.eu (search for Baolishi)

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