Stopping just short of declaring lipstick the kiss of death, an activist group devoted to scaring us about cosmetics is claiming that minuscule levels of lead found in lipsticks may cause lead poisoning.
The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics — an offshoot of its similarly alarmist parent, the Environmental Working Group — announced yesterday that, out of 400 different lipsticks analyzed by the FDA, almost all tested positive for lead. And since the group’s co-founder Stacy Malkan maintains — without any scientific basis — that there is “no safe level of lead exposure,” she wants the FDA to set limits on lead levels in lipsticks and investigate whether such exposure presents any danger to pregnant women and children.
Yet the FDA — echoing generations of lipstick-loving women — believes there is no cause for alarm, and, according to Tamara Ward, an agency spokeswoman, “The FDA did not find high levels of lead in lipstick. We developed and tested a method for measuring lead in lipstick and did not find levels that would raise health concerns.” In fact, the results of the FDA study will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Science, which will confirm that lipsticks pose no threat to the millions of women who use them regularly.
After noticing that this junk story made its rounds through various reputable news media outlets, ACSH’s Dr. Elizabeth Whelan had to ask: “Why do news folks even bother to copy and paste these nonsensical stories from activist sites? It must be because scare stories by definition are news.”
The headline of a Reuters article covering the scare read, “Could your Valentine’s kiss give you lead poisoning?” As Dr. Whelan points out, it’s missing one word: “No.”