The Food and Drug Administration is making moves with a new draft of guidelines that proposes new limits on the amount of lead in our beauty products. As per the proposal, lead is "a chemical element for which toxicity in humans has been well documented" and "an impurity in cosmetic lip products and externally applied cosmetics." The new guidelines would limit the use of lead to no more than 10 parts per million (ppm) in products including lipsticks, eye shadows, blushes, and other externally applied cosmetics.
Since 2007, the FDA has collected hundreds of commercial samples of lip products (lipstick, lip gloss, and lip balm) in the U.S. and found levels of lead ranging from 0.026 ppm to 7.19 ppm in each one. However, the agency notes that its surveys of externally applied cosmetics, like eye shadows, blushes, and compact powders, showed higher levels in those products due to "high filler and pigment content." Based on its findings, the FDA proposes a maximum level of 10 ppm of lead in all U.S.-marketed lip products and externally applied cosmetics, which also includes shampoos and body lotions.
While the agency maintains that the average amount of lead found in lipstick is 1 ppm, some question whether the ingredient should be banned altogether à la microbeads. What do you think? Tell us in the comments, and read about going natural with your makeup picks.