The kiss of death?
Sixty years ago, the late American crime novelist Mickey Spillane published Kiss Me, Deadly, which could also serve as the title of a new analysis from the University of California at Berkeley’s School of Public Health.
Researchers there tested 32 lipsticks and lip glosses sold mostly in drugstores and department stores and found some ugly results. The lip products contained lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and five other metals, some of which were found at levels that are cause for public health concerns.
That’s because lipstick or gloss is often ingested or absorbed, little by little, by the wearer. Average use was defined as daily ingestion of 24 milligrams of lip makeup every day, but those who reapply throughout the day could fall into the “high use” category of 87 milligrams a day.
“Just finding these metals isn’t the issue,” principal investigator S. Katharine Hammond, professor of environmental health sciences, said in a news release about the findings, which appear online in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives. “Some of the toxic metals are occurring at levels that could possibly have an effect in the long term.”
For instance, average use of certain lipsticks and lip gloss could result in excessive exposure to chromium, a carcinogen linked to stomach tumors. And high use of these products could result in potential overexposure to aluminum, cadmium and manganese. The authors noted that over time, exposure to high concentrations of manganese has been linked to toxicity in the nervous system.
Researcher Sa Liu said in the news release that the Food and Drug Administration should pay attention to the study results. “Based upon our findings, a larger, more thorough survey of lip products—and cosmetics in general—is warranted,” Liu said.