5 Cosmetic Products That Give You Heavy Metals Poisoning
By Susanne Posel
A study conducted by UC Berkeley researchers shows that there are dangerously toxic elements added to lipstick, such as cadmium, that is linked to renal failure.
S. Katharine Hammond, co-author of the study and an environmental scientist at UC Berkeley explained that using these cosmetics could expose wearers to 1/5th of their daily acceptable dose of heavy metals from simply applying the product to their lips twice a day. Hammond said: “If this were the only exposure it wouldn’t be a problem, but when you add it to other exposures it is a problem.”
Linda Loretz, toxicologist for Personal Care Products Council (PCPC), a trade group for the cosmetics industry asserts that she does not “see anything that is a safety concern or anything that is new or unexpected.”
Loretz claims that since certain metals are necessary for good nutrition, this exposure to cadmium is not a health risk. In fact, Loretz points out that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves titanium, aluminum as ingredients.
Acocrding to an FDA study in 2011, wherein 400 lipsticks were tested, there was no conclusion of a health hazard, Loretz states.
In this FDA study, it was concluded: “Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick.”
The Campaign For Safe Cosmetics (CSC) points out that “a number of metals, including lead, arsenic, mercury, aluminum, zinc, chromium and iron are found in cosmetics ranging from lipstick to whitening toothpaste, eyeliner, nail color and more.”
Developers add heavy metals as constituent ingredients to the product without regard for the safety of the wearer.
Although “iron is necessary for blood oxygenation . . . higher accumulations [of] metals may have negative effects. Cancerous breast biopsies show higher accumulations of iron, nickel, chromium, zinc, cadmium, mercury and lead than non-cancerous biopsies, and several metals act like estrogen in the presence of some breast cancer cells.”
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) determined that heavy metals in cosmetics “can cause skin allergies through percutaneous adsorption on the skin.”
In Canada, the addition of heavy metals in cosmetic products are illegal because of the public health risk posed as defined in the Food and Drugs Act .
It is accepted that heavy metals are found in nature; however their use in color and pigments by the cosmetics industry have been directly tied to injury. Indeed, the preservative thimerosal, a form of mercury, is used in hair dye and tattoo pigments which create the reddish tint.
Environmental Defense Canada released a study in 2011 that showed 49 popular cosmetic products contained heavy metals that were not listed on the label.
Those found to be poisoning their customers were:
• Laura Mercier
• Mary Kay
Shockingly, on the average products tested contained heavy metals such as:
The report explained: “Heavy metals are in our face makeup and consumers have no way of knowing about it. For some of these metals, science has not established a ‘safe’ level of exposure.”
In fact, exposure to heavy metals is cumulative and will cause a host of issues that the wearer would not attribute to cosmetics if they were unaware of the problem. These ailments and diseases include:
• Reproductive disorders
• Neurological problems
• Memory loss
• Mood swings
• Dermatitis (hair loss)
It has been determined that, for example, “eyeliner and concealers contain cadmium, powders and blushers are not nickel-free, beryllium is found in bronzes and eye-shadow and mascara and foundations even include arsenic.”
Because each body is made up a different biological chemistry, it is difficult to give a broad determination of how the individual will react to heavy metals exposure over time. However it is clear that heavy metals poisoning is highly toxic and the effects of exposure, although may be individualistic, can hold true that eventually all human bodies will succumb to the effects which are accepted as deadly.
Attributions to adult onset attention deficit disorder (ADHD) as well as the lowering of IQ can be directly correlated to exposure to heavy metals. Cosmetics are one way in which the public is being poisoned for the sake of looking good.
Amina Leslie, director of Safe Cosmetics Australia said: “It is alarming that the majority of these chemicals have not been assessed for public health and safety especially when extensive research in Australia and abroad has found hundreds of hazardous chemicals are entering our bodies on a daily basis and passing into the environment with toxic consequences. Toxic chemicals are by far the cheaper alternative to natural ingredients and it appears that profit comes before health on too many occasions, considering the Australian cosmetic and toiletries industry has domestic sales of approximately $5 billion per annum. The Australian government needs to take appropriate action to protect the general public.”