Take the lipstick debate. Last fall, a study gave women reason to worry about their war paint:
Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested 33 lipsticks for lead, from Burt's
Bees Lip Shimmer to L'Oreal Colour Riche. They found that 61 percent of
the lipsticks tested contained a detectable amount of the contaminant.
a minuscule amount of lead is a big problem, says Campaign for Safe
Cosmetics spokeswoman Stacy Malkan. "What the companies will often say
is, 'There's a little toxin in one product and you can't say it causes
harm,' " she says. "But none of us uses just one product." Lead is a
neurotoxin that accumulates in the body over time, which is why tiny
amounts ingested regularly (or in the case of lipstick, multiple times
per day) could be hazardous.
eye-area cosmetics, the FDA allows mercury if no other effective
preservative is available. The concentration can be up to 65 parts per
million. That may not sound like much, but the presence of mercury in
any amount worries some people. This month, Minnesota imposed a ban on
many products containing the substance, including thermostats, medical
devices and, yes, mascara.
a potent neurotoxin that can cause brain damage in developing fetuses,"
Malkan says. "Many women get mercury from fish and other sources. We
don't need any more."