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For Immediate Release: June 5th, 2008
Contact:  Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963; Tracy Fairchild, Sen. Migden’s office, 916-651-4003

California Senate Votes to Ban Lead in Lipstick

(SACRAMENTO)— The California State Senate has approved the first bill in the nation that bans lead, a known neurotoxin, in lipstick. Senate Bill 1712, authored by State Sen. Carole Migden (D-San Francisco/North Bay), passed the California Senate on a vote of 22-17 on May 29.

The bill follows a study by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, released in October 2007, that found lead in 61% of lipsticks tested, including top brands L’Oreal, Cover Girl and Dior Addict. Seven months after the study’s release, the US Food and Drug Administration has taken no action, and the companies have not agreed to reformulate their products.

“In the absence of federal regulations requiring safe cosmetics, some companies are making very poor decisions about product safety. We praise the California State Senate for stepping up to the plate to protect women’s and children’s health from unnecessary lead exposure,” said Janet Nudelman, policy director of the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. “There is no reason for lipstick to contain lead. Many of the brands we tested did not contain the toxic heavy metal.”

Lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioral problems such as lowered IQ, reduced school performance and increased aggression. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure. Lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the fetal brain where it can interfere with normal development. Lead has also been linked to infertility and miscarriage.

“Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure,” said Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice.

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Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth.