Are lipsticks toxic? There is no current evidence to support this. It seems lipsticks may be less “toxic” as the air we breathe or water we drink. A popular myth asserts that the lead in lipsticks causes cancer. Lead is certainly dangerous, but it normally exists in our air, water, and food. The lead that we normally intake from air, water, and food is approximately 0.3mg, which is much higher than the 0.001-0.002% (10-20 parts per million or 10-20mcg
) normally used in colored cosmetics. This amount is usually even more reduced as colorants must go through further dilution for use in cosmetics.The poisonous dose (acute lead poisoning) is a staggeringly high 60-80 mcg/dL
concentration in the blood, which occurs if there is an ingestion of large amounts of lead or a major inhalation of lead vapors. There is currently no single case of lead poisoning attributed to lipstick use recorded in US medical literature.
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