Are You Giving Your Kids the Kiss of Death?


I am more J.Crew than JLo or JWoww. I prefer khakis to skinny jeans and respectable cardigans to revealing camisoles. And that goes double for cosmetics.

If it were not for the fact that I have skin like a Shar-Pei and a daughter that I am forced not to embarrass in public, I would probably go without make-up every. single. day.

While I am far from a Japanese Kabuki actor, I do apply some foundation, mascara and eyeliner on days I am required to venture beyond my driveway. If I forget to add one or more of the aforementioned cosmetics I don’t meltdown. However, the one product I don’t leave home without is lipstick. Or, in my case lip gloss.

For many women, khakis, a cardigan and lipstick are essentials of the mommy uniform, which is probably why so many of us have reacted so passionately to the recent news about lipstick causing potential harm to us, and more importantly, our children.

As reported by several major news outlets, the Food and Drug Administration is in a war with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics regarding the level of lead found in hundreds of popular lipsticks.

A study conducted by the FDA found that 400 lipsticks on the market tested positive for lead. Among the top offenders are:

1. Maybelline Color Sensational Pink Petal (L’Oreal)

2. L’Oreal Colour Riche Volcanic

3. NARS Semi-Matte Red Lizard

4. Cover Girl Queen Vibrant Hues Ruby Remix

5. NARS Semi-Matte Funny Face

6. L’Oreal Colour Riche Tickled Pink

7. L’Oreal Intensely Moisturizing Lipcolor Heroic

8. Cover Girl Continuous Color Warm Brick

9. Maybelline Color Sensational Mauve Me

10. Stargazer Lipstick 103

According to the FDA, those lipsticks contain the highest levels of lead of all 400 it tested.

If you are a loyal fan of any one of the lipsticks on the list and you regularly smooch your kids after applying your shade of choice, you are exposing them to D-A-N-G-E-R.

At least that’s what the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics wants you to think, but the FDA disagrees.

So, who are we to believe?

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Maybelline Color Sensation contains nearly three times the amount of lead that children’s products in the U.S. are allowed.

“There is no safe level of lead exposure,” Stacy Malkan, co-founder of Campaign for Safe Cosmetics told “It builds up in the body over time. A little bit every day is adding up and staying with you.”

Malkan noted that lead is particularly dangerous to young children because it can cause blood and brain disorders.

The Centers for Disease Control agrees saying that there is no safe level of lead for children. The government agency has also been quite vocal in its attempt to get companies to keep lead out of products to prevent exposure to pregnant women and children.

Currently, there are no FDA standards in regulating the amount of lead in lipstick.

“When these companies are asked about these chemicals, they argue, ‘it’s legal, so it’s OK,’” said Malkan. “That’s why we’re calling for the FDA to set a standard and give guidance to these companies for the best manufacturing practices.”

Did you see your favorite lipstick brand on the list?

Would you plant a kiss on your kid if you knew your lipstick was tainted with lead?

This entry was posted in Child Safety Issues by Michele Cheplic. Bookmark the permalink.
Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.