Group Finds More Toxic Imitation Lipsticks in the Market

Women beware:  those imitation lipsticks that you are using to get that luscious red pout may contain toxic impurities that can eventually damage your health.

As the National Lipstick Day is observed today, July 29, with special promos and sales, the EcoWaste Coalition cautioned lipstick lovers against picking and using products, especially imitation ones, which may be contaminated with lead.

“Although forbidden as ingredient in cosmetic products, we find some lipsticks, particularly those without market authorization, contaminated with high levels of lead,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We also find it worrisome that lead-containing lipsticks are often contaminated with other toxic metals such as arsenic, cadmium and mercury above the allowable trace limits set by the ASEAN and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” Dizon emphasized.  

According to the ASEAN Guidelines on Limits of Contaminants for Cosmetics, lead cannot be deliberately added into cosmetic product formulations.  For lead in cosmetics, the trace amount limit is not more than 20 parts per million (ppm).

Dizon bewailed the unethical and unlawful sale of lipsticks that are cheap, but loaded with lead way above the regulatory limit.  

Out of 75 lipsticks that the group bought from retail shops last July 26 and 27 for P16 to P50 each, 26 were found loaded with lead.  The items were purchased from retailers in Divisoria, Paco and Quiapo, Manila, and in Pasay City.

Using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), the group managed to detect atrocious levels of lead in the range of 112 ppm to dangerously high 44,400 ppm.

Among the 12 adulterated and counterfeit items with highest lead content based on the screening conducted by the group were:

1.  Kylie Lipstick #02,   44,400 ppm
2.  Qianxiu It’s Moisturizing Matte Lipstick #06, 42,800 ppm
3.  MAC Mariah Carey Lipstick #02, 36,800 ppm
4.  Qianxiu Hello Kitty Lipstick #06, 34,800 ppm
5.  Qianxiu Lipstick #06, 28,200 ppm
6.  Naked Love Lisptick #09, 25,800 ppm
7.  MAC Zacposen Rudy Woo Lipstick #12, 10,600 ppm
8.  Naked 9 Qianxiu Lipstick #07, 8,960 ppm
9.  MAC Zacposen So Chaud Lipstick #04, 7,987 ppm
10. Koko Kollection Lipstick #02,4,888 ppm
11. MAC Zacposen Girl About Town Lipstick #08, 4,522 ppm 
12.Revlon Gossip Gurl Lipstick #12, 2,371 ppm

“The lead contaminant in these lipsticks may be due to the use of impure and low quality raw materials and the poor manufacturing processes,” Dizon explained.

“While it is most detrimental to young children’s health, especially to their developing brains, lead exposure in adults can be damaging, too, as it can damage the kidneys and increase the risk of high blood pressure,” he added.

According to the US-based Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “a chemical like lead builds up in the body over time so low exposures repeated daily can add up to a significant exposure.” 

“Exposure of pregnant women to high levels of lead can cause miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth weight,” warned the World Health Organization (WHO) which has listed lead among the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.”

To protect consumer health, the EcoWaste Coalition called on the FDA to issue an urgent public health advisory and to initiate law enforcement action to stop the sale of toxic lipsticks and other unsafe cosmetics such as skin whitening creams laden with mercury.