When you open your Christmas gifts this year, you might be surprised to learn that your gift has lead in it. It’s amazing how lead can be found in many products we use every day. Since there’s no safe level of lead, we felt it was a good time of year to remind you of the potential dangers of being exposed to lead. Children under the age of 6 who are exposed to lead are at a high risk of permanent brain damage. In addition, elevated lead levels in adults can lead to a host of health problems from miscarriages to seizures.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) “lead can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Much of our exposure comes from human activities including the use of fossil fuels including past use of leaded gasoline, some types of industrial facilities, and past use of lead-based paint in homes. Lead and lead compounds have been used in a wide variety of products found in and around our homes, including paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, solders, batteries, ammunition, and cosmetics.”
Lead in Cosmetics?
A study done in 2012 by the Food and Drug Administration found 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead. The nonprofit, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, argues that there’s no safe level of lead exposure and wants the U.S. government to set lead limits for lipsticks.
“Millions of women get a little bit of toxic lead on their lips each day with every swipe of their lipsticks,” says Jane Houlihan, senior VP for research at Environmental Working Group (EWP). “The biggest concern is for pregnant women – lead is a potent neurotoxin and the fetus and very young children are most at risk. Some companies make lead-free lipsticks, and we think all companies should.”
EWP says that since the beauty industry is largely unregulated, and lipstick for children is not safe, it’s up to you to do your own research to find the safest products. There are no legal standards for personal care products labeled as “pure,” “natural” or “organic,” so look beyond the marketing claims and read labels carefully.
So, this Christmas, read product labels before you apply, eat, or drink lead-possible products. Start the new year with products you know are safe for you and your children.
If you have a story about lead exposure we’d like to print it here on our CLEARCorps website. Sharing your story is a great way to save others from lead exposure.