EcoWaste warns of toxic substances in cheap lipstick

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 02:27 PM February 11, 2014

MANILA, Philippines—Women, whether looking forward to a Valentine’s date on Friday or not, should be watchful of what they put on their lips.

Men too, should be wary about the painted lips they kiss.


Pollution and toxic waste watchdog EcoWaste Coalition warned the public on Tuesday of lipstick products available in the market that contain health-damaging chemicals, such as arsenic, lead and mercury.

“Arsenic, lead and mercury in lipstick may be absorbed or ingested when you lick or wet your lips, drink and eat while wearing a tainted lipstick, or when you kiss or lock lips with someone wearing one,” said Ecowaste national coordinator Aileen Lucero.


“While instant adverse effect is not expected, be forewarned that chronic long-term exposure to toxic metals even at low doses could harm a person’s health,” she told a briefing in Quezon City.

EcoWaste said it screened 70 lipsticks selling for P7 to P80, which the group bought from 13 discount shops in Divisoria and Quiapo in Manila, and in Baclaran in Parañaque and Pasay cities on Feb. 7.

The samples were tested for dangerous chemicals using a portable X-Ray fluorescence device, following allowable regional limits: 1 part per million (ppm) for mercury, 5 ppm for arsenic and 20 ppm for lead.

It reported that 27 of the 70 samples of lipstick (39 percent) were found to contain detectable levels of one or more heavy metals above the limits set by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

The top 10 samples with the highest levels of lead were Baolishi No. 20 (green case) with 18,500 ppm, Baolishi No. 20 (golden case) 15,600 ppm, Baolishi No. 20 (yellow case) 14,000 ppm, Baolishi No. 20 (red case) 3,337 ppm, Baolishi No. 20 (yellow case) 3,258 ppm, Monaliza No. 20 (pink case) 2,796 ppm, Monaliza No. 20 (golden case) 2,613 ppm, Monaliza No. 20 (with cartoon case) 2,142 ppm, Kiss Beauty No. 7 383 ppm, Kiss Beauty No. 8 208 ppm and Miss Beauty No. 7 with 72 ppm.

Lead, the EcoWaste Coalition warned, could build up in the body over time, and  leaded lipstick applied several times a day, combined with lead from other sources such as lead paint and dust, could add up to considerable exposure levels.

Lead exposure among women has been linked to miscarriage, premature birth, reduced fertility, menstrual irregularities and other reproductive disorders.


Mercury, another potent neurotoxin like lead, was found the highest in Popa No. 12 with 90 ppm, Kaixi Beauty No. 60 with 85 ppm and Chanleevi No. 04 with 88 ppm.

Pregnant women are very much at risk from the toxic effects of mercury, which a mother can pass to the developing fetus.  Mercury is known to concentrate in the fetal brain, disrupting the brain development and causing lifelong health problems.

High levels of arsenic, a human carcinogen, was detected in Baolishi No. 20 (green case) with 497 ppm, Baolishi No. 20 (golden case) 450 ppm and Baolishi No. 20 (yellow case) with 421 ppm.

Exposure to arsenic over a long period can result in chronic arsenic poisoning and associated health problems such as skin lesions, peripheral neuropathy, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer.

A subsequent check at the website of the Food and Drugs Administration showed that none of the tainted samples were listed on the agency’s list of notified cosmetics, EcoWaste said.

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TAGS: EcoWaste Coalition, Metro, News, toxic lipstick, valentines day
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