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Lead Content in Lipsticks Harmful to Intelligence

Update Date: Dec 04, 2012 06:23 AM EST

Pretty lips or sharper brain? You may have to make a choice between the two by the time you finish reading this report.

Experts warn that even low levels of lead exposure could affect one's IQ, behavior and ability to learn, and after studying 22 lipstick brands, they have found that 55 percent contained trace amounts of the toxic element.

A report by Underwriters Laboratories suggests that 12 of the lip products sampled and examined tested positive for lead content, with the highest content being 3.22 parts per million, the Daily Mail reported.

"What we know now is that even the lowest levels of lead can harm your IQ, your behavior, your ability to learn," Dr. Sean Palfrey, medical director for the Boston Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, told Good Morning America.

"If you were serious about the public health aspects of lead poisoning you would not be looking at lipstick," Dr. Halyna Breslawec, chief scientist for the Personal Care Products Council, added.

"You would be looking at locations where children live. Do they live near hazardous waste dumps - are they chewing lead-containing paint fragments?" Breslawec added.

The FDA at present does not specify any standard limit for the levels of lead content in lipstick and it is up to the manufacturers of the products to decide, based on the safety tests.

While the names of the brands were kept anonymous, it was revealed that a range of colors were selected from department stores and drugstores across the U.S.

Even though the addition of lead to lipsticks is not intentional, many color additives are mineral-based and contain traces of it, Business Standard reported.

"Clearly the concerning part is that more than half of the lipsticks do contain lead, but half of them don't, proving that it's possible to manufacture a lipstick without lead," Janet Nudelman of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said, according to the report.

However, recently, there have been reports about progressions being made in terms of addition of lead in lipsticks.

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