Throughout history many unhealthy substances, including lead, have been used as ingredients during the various times in the history of makeup. Modern day cosmetics are more controlled, regulated and their ingredients and the potential side effects are more fully understood. However, recent research by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicate that there are approximately 400+ best-selling lipsticks on the market today that have tested positive for lead.

There is no safe dose for lead exposure based on these recent science studies. Since lead is a neurotoxin, even a small dose can be unhealthy and ultimately dangerous. Many feel the cosmetics industry is ignoring these findings of toxic metals in lipstick, arguing that because the dose is so low per application that there is no reason for concern.

The exposure of even a little amount of a toxic chemical over a long period of time can add up to potential harm. Repeat daily low exposures of a chemical like lead builds up in the body over a period of time and ends up being a significant exposure. A few of the health concerns linked to the exposure of lead are:

· Neurotoxicity has been linked to language impairment, learning disabilities and behavioral problems

· Menstrual irregularities and hormonal changes

· Puberty delayed in girls

· Delayed development of testes in boys

· Reduced fertility in both women and men

If you are like me, giving up my favorite lipstick would be hard to do. The ingredient label on lipstick product do not disclose the lead content and this is true from the more affordable to high-end luxury brands. So what can the consumer do to safeguard themselves from the level of lead in their lipstick products?

* Do your research. Call, write or email the company that makes your favorite lipstick shades and inquire what the lead content is in their product. Indicate that lead-free products are very important to you.

* If you frequently reapply lipstick during the day, consider cutting back on the number of times you do this.

* Keep lipstick away from children. One of the side effects of lead consumption in children is the interference with normal brain development.

To date there is no single documented case of lead poisoning as a result from using lipstick. A well informed consumer who knows the potential hazards of lead in lipstick can then decide which product they feel are best suited for them. Caution should be taken when using unauthorized imports and counterfeit cosmetics that have evaded the scrutiny of government regulatory agencies.

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