July 13, 2010

Skin deep?????

Which lipsticks and nail polishes are the safest?

Heard about the study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics a few years ago that  found that 20 of the top 33 top brand name lipsticks had detectable levels of lead—even though you won’t see “lead” on their labels? Read their "Poison Kiss" report for some information that just might make you swear off lipstick. Some lipsticks are now labeled “lead-free,” but you can look for others at Environmental Working Group’s http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/ .

There are also petroleum-based waxes and synthetic colors in a lot of them. The FDA website says that lead in lipstick is not a safety concern because “Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use, is only ingested incidentally and in very small quantities.” Hmmm. Mine almost disappears during a meal, but I don’t think it’s evaporating.

This alarming figure in Glamour magazine should get your attention too: “Women inadvertently (but harmlessly) eat about 4 lbs of lipstick in a lifetime.” Yuck, definitely not on my diet. Plus, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that “no safe blood lead level has been identified,” and the agency recommends keeping your children away from lipstick—easier said than done. Pregnant women are also particularly vulnerable to lead exposure because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development.

If that's not enough, the FDA offers a a nifty “Color Additive Status List” to show you what the FDA has discovered about a bunch of artificial colors.

What about nail polish?  Some nail polish manufacturers such as OPI, Orly, and Sally Hansen have reformulated their products, leaving out the so-called toxic trio of formaldehyde, toluene and, dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Unfortunately, many polishes still contain these hazardous chemicals.

What about shampoo? I've used Herbal Essences for years. Then I heard last March that P&G would reformulate it to reduce levels of the carcinogenic contaminant 1,4-dioxane. I still have a few bottles stockpiled, but I'm switching to a safer brand soon. I tried Burt's Bees shampoo because it contained no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or petrochemicals. Then checked it out on the EWG's website. Oh no, it contains some suspect chemicals too?? Did you know that Clorox Company bought Burt's Bees a few years ago? Hmmm.