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Can your lipstick give you heart problems? Image

Can your lipstick give you heart problems?

On 20th August 2012, the Daily Mail published an article which claimed chemicals in lipstick could cause muscle problems, hormone disruption and poisoning by heavy metals. We asked John Hoskins, independent toxicologist, whether lead in lipstick could give us brain and nerve damage:

“We ingest a cocktail of chemical elements in one form or another all the time from dust in the air, some in water, some in food and inevitably, some in cosmetics. The amounts are minute. Many foodstuffs contain lead at a level which can approach those quoted for lipsticks. We eat more food than lipsticks. I would think that one dinner would equal several handbags worth of lipsticks."

"The very low levels quoted have to be accepted as a fact of life - we cannot have a lead-free environment where 'free' means below the level of detection because we can analyse down to a handful of atoms for most things."

The FDA Lipstick and Lead: Questions and Answers resource provides more information.

What about recent research linking triclosan, which is used as a preservative in lipsticks, to muscle and heart problems?

“The study was done on fish and mice and used dose levels of triclosan which may be many orders of magnitude higher than any human would ever experience. The assumption made in the article that dose does not matter and that animals are the same in their reactions as humans is a major fault.”

NHS Behind the headlines explains further why the research does not support the claim.

The article also mentions research linking parabens to an increased risk of breast cancer. Actually, no connection between breast cancer and parabens has been shownas Dr Caitlin PalframanPolicy Manager at Breakthrough Breast Cancer and others have already explained.

Document type: For The Record


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