The kiss of death?

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS -

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.

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