A test of 32 lipsticks and lip glosses commonly found in Bay Area stores detected lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals at levels that may raise health concerns, a new study reveals.
Researchers at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health selected lip products used by members of the Asian Communities for Reproductive Justice Youth Program, a group of Asian girls ages 14 to 19 who live in low-income neighborhoods in Oakland.
The prices for the lip products ranged from $5.59 to $24.
The study will be published online Thursday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. It does not reveal statistics for specific lipstick brands.
Among the findings: People who use an average amount of lipstick, perhaps applying it twice a day and ingesting 24 milligrams of the cosmetic, could be exposed to hexavalent chromium at levels that exceed safety guidelines. Hexavalent chromium is a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. The amount in lip products is unknown because the tests could not distinguish between it and less toxic forms of the metal. Those who use large amounts of lipstick, maybe reapplying 14 times a day and ingesting 87 milligrams, could have excessive exposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese. Exposure to high concentrations of manganese over time has been linked to toxicity in the nervous system, researchers noted. Lead was detected in 24 lip products, but at levels that were generally within safety guidelines. Most of the lipsticks and lip glosses contained high concentrations of titanium and aluminum. Metal concentrations varied significantly among the different lip products.