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Saturday, April 23rd 2011. | Cosmetics

Natural Cosmetic Products – Lipstick tainted with lead. Mascara that contains mercury. A hair-straightening treatment that slicks your tresses with protein…and formaldehyde? As 3 recent controversies show, typically the globe of beauty is downright ugly.

Take the lipstick dialogue. Last fall, a study gave girls reason to fret concerning their war paint: The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics tested thirty three lipsticks for lead, from Burt’s Bees Lip Shimmer to L’Oreal color Riche. They found that sixty one % of the lipsticks tested contained a detectable quantity of the contaminant. In fact, many lipsticks exceeded the Food and Drug Administration’s lead limit for candy. (The study used candy as a benchmark not solely as a result of girls ingest each candy and lipstick — albeit in vastly completely different amounts — however conjointly as a result of the FDA doesn’t set lead standards for lipstick.)

Even a minuscule quantity of lead may be a massive drawback, says Campaign for Safe Cosmetics spokeswoman Stacy Malkan. “What the businesses can usually say is, ‘There’s somewhat toxin in one product and you cannot say it causes damage,’ ” she says. “But none people uses only 1 product.” Lead may be a neurotoxin that accumulates within the body over time, that is why little amounts ingested often (or within the case of lipstick, multiple times per day) can be hazardous.

Not everybody sees lead in lipstick as quite the difficulty Malkan will. “Lead is in our surroundings, even while not all the economic production of chemicals,” says John Bailey, chief scientist for the private Care product Council, a D.C.-based trade association. “It’s a part of the world…I don’t assume it extremely warrants these alarmist conclusions.”

Right now, involved lipstick lovers do not have plenty of choices. “The solely thanks to decide if your lipstick has lead is to send it to a lab and pay $150,” Malkan says. “I assume that is ridiculous, to expect shoppers to try to to that.”

It’s significantly easier to seek out out if your mascara contains mercury. historically added as a preservative, the substance is rare in cosmetics of late. When it exists, it’s typically in cake mascaras, like those created by Paula Dorf and La Femme, instead of wand versions. you will see it listed as “thimerosal,” a mercury-based compound.

In eye-area cosmetics, the FDA permits mercury if no alternative effective preservative is out there. The concentration is up to sixty five elements per million. which will not sound like abundant, however the presence of mercury in any quantity worries some folks. This month, Minnesota imposed a ban on several product containing the substance, as well as thermostats, medical devices and, yes, mascara.

“It’s a potent neurotoxin which will cause brain injury in developing fetuses,” Malkan says. “Many girls get mercury from fish and alternative sources. we do not would like any longer.”

Bailey says that the FDA uses a voluntary reporting program for cosmetics ingredients; the program has no current registrations that report mercury being employed within the eye space, he says. “We definitely cannot count on a voluntary reporting program,” Malkan says. “We would like a true reporting system.” to examine whether or not any product you employ contain mercury or alternative probably hazardous ingredients, she recommends the Environmental operating Group’s Skin Deep net web site (http://www.cosmeticdatabase.com), that lists data on quite twenty seven,000 cosmetics and personal-care product. which will seem to be a high variety, however it is a tiny fraction of what is on the market, Malkan says.

The Skin Deep web site may be a helpful resource: It offers every product a 1-to-10 “hazard score” and offers detailed data on its ingredients. however the location analyzes solely over-the-counter product. Salon treatments don’t seem to be examined — and for controversial ones like the Brazilian Keratin treatment, that is unfortunate. The BKT, as it’s known, may be a hair-straightening method that has smitten girls in search of silky, frizz-free tresses. It conjointly contains formaldehyde, a carcinogen.

“It is basically, actually what I think about the miracle cure for hair,” says Dennis Roche, who offers the treatment at his 2 Roche salons within the District. Roche says his salons use a formulation that contains “under a pair of percent” formaldehyde. however he says the % concentration is irrelevant — what matters is that the quantity of formaldehyde that gets released as fumes when heat is applied. Roche says he minimizes that quantity by using cool-air hair dryers and flat irons wrapped in heat-protectant tape.

“I’m aiming to continue doing this as a result of I see the advantages from it, and that i do not believe there is any health risk — nothing quite hair color or faux nails or anything,” Roche says. “I do not assume somewhat hair color goes to harm anybody.”

The issue, of course, is that it’s onerous to grasp. Beauty product and coverings do not have to urge FDA approval before hitting store shelves; the FDA mandates such approval just for color additives in cosmetics. Sure, the general public in all probability would agree that you just should not eat your lipstick or place mascara on a baby. however beyond that, the definition of “dangerous” comes all the way down to completely different people’s ideas concerning the consequences of accumulated toxins. what quantity is just too much? If consultants cannot agree, shoppers cannot be assured either.

“I love the means my hair appearance. i am thus pleased with it,” says Roche shopper Lauren Stempler, who lives within the District and has gotten the Brazilian Keratin treatment twice. “But it is a onerous selection….There is that nagging feeling in me that it’d not be worthwhile.”

 

Source : Inspired Living

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