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For Immediate Release: October 18th, 2007
Contact:  Stacy Malkan, 202-321-6963, smalkan@hcwh.org; Cindy Luppi, 617-338-8131 x208, cluppi@cleanwater.org

L'OREAL: GET THE LEAD OUT

Health groups call on cosmetic giant to remove lead from lipstick

SAN FRANCISCO — Women’s, health and environmental groups today called on L’Oreal to reformulate its lipsticks to remove lead in the wake of product tests released last week by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. Of 33 lipstick samples tested by an independent lab, 61 percent (20 samples) contained detectable levels of lead. According to the tests, six of the 11 lipsticks with the highest lead content were made by L’Oreal under the brands L’Oreal and Maybelline NY.

L’Oreal said in a written response that the company stands proudly behind its products, and that its products “are in full compliance with FDA regulations.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has no regulations limiting lead in lipstick. However, the agency does limit lead in candy to 0.1 parts per million – a standard established to protect children from ingesting lead. L’Oreal lipsticks had lead levels up to six times higher than the FDA candy limit.

“Lipstick is used by children, it’s used by pregnant women, it’s reapplied frequently and it’s ingested into our bodies when it gets into our mouths or onto our food,” said Stacy Malkan, co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and author of the new book, “Not Just a Pretty Face: The Ugly Side of the Beauty Industry” (www.NotJustaPrettyFace.org).

“There’s no excuse for lead in lipstick. Our tests prove that it’s possible to make lead-free lipstick and all companies should adhere to that gold standard,” said Malkan.

Lead is a potent neurotoxin that can cause learning disabilities and other health problems. “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.

The FDA said Friday it will look into the issue. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics calls on the FDA to:

• Test a wide range of lipsticks for lead and publicly release the results, including brand names. 

• Require companies to reduce lead in lipstick to the lowest level possible.

See www.SafeCosmetics.org for a complete list of products tested for the report, “A Poison Kiss: The Problem of Lead in Lipstick.”

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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.

For more information and background on the campaign, see www.SafeCosmetics.org.