California legislators defeat bill requiring proof of minimum lead levels in lipsticks

August 5, 2008

Sacramento, Calif. - The California Assembly’s Committee on Health has defeated a bill that would have required manufacturers - including lipstick-makers - to prove that their products contain no more than “an unavoidable trace of lead,” CosmeticsDesign.com reports.

Sacramento, Calif. - The California Assembly’s Committee on Health has defeated a bill that would have required manufacturers - including lipstick-makers - to prove that their products contain no more than “an unavoidable trace of lead,” CosmeticsDesign.com reports.

The issue of lead in lipsticks spurred much media attention last year when the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (CSC) released a study claiming that many lipsticks contain unacceptably high levels of lead.

In response, state Sen. Carole Migden, a Democrat, introduced a bill requiring lipstick producers in California to report to the Department of Public Health that their products were tested and only unavoidable lead traces found. She defined “unavoidable trace” as less than 0.02 parts per million - less than amounts commonly found by the CSC study.

Lawmakers defeated the legislation, which was sponsored by the CSC, thanks in part to the efforts of the Personal Care Products Council, which opposed the bill. Calling the proposed legislation “a ban on lipstick products with no scientific basis,” the Council pointed out that lead is not added to lipsticks, but is often present in small quantities and naturally occurs in the environment.

In addition, California Attorney General Edmund Brown dismissed CSC claims that the presence of lead in certain lipsticks poses a health hazard. He reportedly based that decision on guidelines set forth by the state’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment.