Personal Care Products Council reaffirms safety of lip products

WASHINGTON — A recently released report that analyzed and measured the level of metals in 32 lip products does not provide any “new meaningful information” and the traces of metals found were not “unexpected given their natural presence in air, soil and water,” according to a statement issued Thursday by the Personal Care Products Council.

The statement by Linda Loretz, chief toxicologist for the PCPC, reaffirming the safety of lip products came in response to a May 2013 report titled, “Concentrations and Potential Health Risks of Metals in Lip Products” from the University of California at Berkeley.

The report analyzed 32 lip products (lipsticks and lip glosses) to measure levels of nine metals — lead, aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, chromium, copper, manganese, nickel and titanium.

"The presence of two of the metals (titanium and aluminum) in cosmetics were found at higher levels because they are used as actual ingredients, approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. While levels of titanium and aluminum were low, they were higher than any of the other analyzed metals. Titanium dioxide is an FDA-approved colorant and widely used in cosmetics, including lipstick, and is also a food ingredient. Aluminum is a common color component used to make the color more stable. The use of aluminum is also approved by FDA for colorant use in cosmetics and in food,” Loretz stated.

"A few of the metals studied in the report are essential nutrients. Cobalt is essential as a component of vitamin B12, required for the production of red blood cells. Copper is an essential component of several enzymes. Manganese is required for the growth, development and maintenance of health and is present in most tissues of all living organisms," Loretz said.

"The issue of lead in lipstick has long been studied and has been thoroughly addressed by FDA. As an example of FDA's diligence in this area, in 2011 the agency tested 400 different lipsticks across many brands and concluded the low levels of lead that were detected were safe. FDA stated, 'Lipstick, as a product intended for topical used with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick,’” Loretz added.

Lead levels found by FDA were lower than limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including the very conservative limit of five parts per million (ppm) set by California under Proposition 65.

"Trace amounts of metals in lip products need to be put into context. Food is a primary source for many of these naturally present metals, and exposure from lip products is minimal in comparison. For example, daily trace amounts of chromium or cadmium from lip products based on the results in this report are less than 1% of daily exposures one would get from their diet. In the case of manganese, typical daily intake from food is more than 1000-fold greater than the amount from lip products. Metals that are prohibited in the EU are not used as cosmetic ingredients in either the EU or the U.S.,” Loretz stated.

Loretz added that, "Cosmetic companies are required by law to substantiate the safety of their products before they are marketed. Nothing matters more to cosmetic companies than the safety and the well-being of the people who use and enjoy them."

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