Lipstick and Kajals
Four lipstick brands and two kajal brands fail tests
Looking for Arsenic and Lead
All that glitters is not good. Certainly not all the fancy beauty products that we use. From adulteration with hormone-disrupting chemicals, which could lower immunity to disease and cause neurological and reproductive damage, to being contaminated by toxins like coal tar colours, phenylenediamine, benzene and even formaldehyde, there are ample reasons to read and understand labels and the fine print on the products that we use without a thought. This report tells us a thing or two about going just by what brands claim (or withhold).
‘B efore makeup’ and ‘after makeup’… haven’t we all been intrigued by the transformation that happens with a line of kajal here, a dash of lipstick there, and so on? Try as we might, we cannot avoid using makeup—in any case, most of us are generally reluctant to move out without using makeup. Thanks to the increasing acceptance and popularity of using makeup, there is not only a booming beauty and cosmetics industry but also a whole new industry made up of makeup professionals. At the same time, there are growing concerns about the ingredients that go into making the makeup products and the long-term effects they may have on the body. Going by various studies, many of our
According to figures released by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the beauty and cosmetic products industry in India is to the tune of Rs 6,049 crore, and is increasing at the rate of 15 per cent–20 per cent annually.
favourite brands may be hiding harsh chemicals that have been linked to cancer, organ failure and other fatal illnesses.
In India, the cosmetic products industry, growing as it is, has so far not kept up with latest safety guidelines because of a weak controlling system. Cosmetics aren’t subject to the same oversight as food and pharmaceuticals. This, coupled with lack of awareness among consumers, has enabled manufacturers to get away with using dangerous chemicals in their products.
There are various chemicals in beauty products. These chemicals, if used regularly, can have an adverse cumulative effect even if they are used in small amounts. In the case of inferior-quality products, allergic compounds like metals are sometimes found mixed in them. Research says that the toxic ingredients in beauty products can even cause cancer and other fatal illnesses.
We tested 12 brands each of lipstick, kajal, hair colour and nail polish for the presence of heavy metals – namely lead and arsenic. For each product category, we chose four brands each in cheap, medium and expensive range.
With regard to dangers of chemicals in makeup products, CII had made a presentation before Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the ministry of consumer affairs (MoCA) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). The MoCA reacted by saying that research was being conducted to bring the national standards in line with WHO/global standards, and steps would be taken to implement them soon.
The beauty products were tested on safety parameters set by Indian Standards (IS). We found that the level of arsenic in lipstick and of lead in kajal was above the danger level. Lead and arsenic were within the permissible limits in all brands of nail polish and hair colour.