Lip­stick and Ka­jals

Four lip­stick brands and two ka­jal brands fail tests

Consumer Voice - - Front Page -

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.

Hid­den Pit­falls

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.

Dis­turb­ing Con­clu­sions

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.

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