Below messages has been circulating on internet with regard to lead content in lipstick and its cancer causing effects:

Message 1:

Posted by Dr. Claudia Pirisi, Oncologist.
Do not forget to pass this message to their wives, girlfriends, friends or colleagues.
Women: Lip Care for using!

Dr. Elizabeth Ayoub, biomolecular and medical is issued an alert for lipsticks containing lead, which is a carcinogen.
Recently the brand 'Red Earth' decreased prices of R $ 67.00 to R $ 9.90!
Why? Because it contained lead.
The brands that contain lead are:

RED EARTH (Lip Gloss)
CHANEL (Lip Conditioner)

The higher the lead content, the greater the risk of causing cancer. After doing a test on lipsticks, lip was observed in the highest level of lead AVON. Care for those lipsticks which are supposed to have greater fixation. If your lipstick is fixed but is due to high levels of lead.
Take this test:
1. Put some lipstick on your hand;
2. With a gold ring on this lipstick pass it;
3. If the lipstick color changes to black, then you know that contains lead.
Please send this information to all your friends.

Message 2:

TOXIC KISSES. Is there lead in your lipstick? Remember, whatever you put on your lips- lipstick, sunscreen, lip balm, etc., will be consumed by you! Choose wisely! According to a Food and Drug Administration report, more than half of 33 brand-name lipsticks tested (61%) contained detectable levels of lead. None of these lipsticks listed lead as an ingredient.
An alarming 55% of drugstore and department store lipsticks tested positive for detectable traces of lead, some as high as 3.22 parts per million according to a study commissioned by ABC’s Good Morning America and Underwriters Laboratories.
The study, which evaluated 22 unnamed lipsticks and glosses, follows-up on an earlier U.S. Food and Drug Administration report released last February which confirmed traces of lead in a whopping 400 lipsticks, including products from cosmetic industry giants L’Oreal, NARS, Cover Girl, and Maybelline. “Although the amount of lead in the lipsticks was very small [in the study] it does add up over time. “The problem with lead is that it does accumulate in the body. Lead is a known neurotoxin. ”

Our Analysis:

The above messages have been circulating on internet from many years and it says that lead might be present in lipstick. It also says that numerous cosmetics companies have decreased their prices as they had contained lead. Lead can cause cancer and make you sick.   

As per the American Cancer society, there is no specific evidence that lead can lead to cancer in humans. Though in experiments done on animals (given high dose of lead ) has given cancer symptoms, but same might not be true for human. Lead is present in environment and is consumed in various forms.

Lead might be present at  Battery makers and recyclers, Lead smelter and refinery workers, Foundry workers, Radiator repair workers, Leaded glass workers, Lead chemical worker, Painters/pigment makers, Metal workers and welders, Firing range personnel, Lead miners, Newspaper printers, Pipe cutters, Plastics and rubber workers, Construction and demolition workers, Stained glass makers, Gun and ammunition makers, Jewellers, Cable makers/splicers, Plumbers,  Ceramics workers, Brass and bronze workers.

People with above places might suffer from lung cancer or stomach cancer if they consume lead in very high quantity.

Back to original topic – The contents of lead is very low in lipstick. So it cannot cause cancer in human beings. In Canada, the health department has created some guidelines that lead should be used as minimum as possible.

The campaign for Safe Cosmetics in United States in year 2007 examined 33 lipsticks and found traces of lead in them. After this test, the FDA (Food and Drug Association) started some of the sensitive test measures to track the lead content in lipsticks. Still, FDA confirmed that the lead content cannot be considered as a health concern. You can refer the below site for more details –

Conclusion – Check for lead content in the type of lipstick you are using. It is not cancer causing but leads to some serious health hazards even if taken in low quantity. Higher consumption can lead to kidney damage as well. Always remember – PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE.      

About The Author

Chetan Sharma is an Indian fact-checker and news writer, writing news for Ayupp since 2014.

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