Guest essay by Eric Worrall
Forbes tells us that the latest hot tip for saving the planet from climate change and unsustainable resource usage is to avoid red lipstick.
According to Forbes;
Want To Combat Climate Change? Give Up Red Lipstick, Drink Local, and Fly Direct (No Problem!)
As a climate change advisor at the United Nations, 35-year-old Cassie Flynn spends her days talking about hefty issues. There are rising sea levels wiping out entire countries, droughts impacting the food security of an entire region, and mega-storms like Superstorm Sandy becoming the norm. “It’s very hard not to feel overwhelmed by this,” she said. “You want to do nothing or leave it to the CEOs or world leaders or people having these large conversations.”
Deciding to show regular people how they can help, Flynn started an initiative called Climate Winners that officially launched last night in a private room of Sixty Soho, a trendy downtown Manhattan Hotel. The idea is to use short videos and tidbits on Twitter TWTR +0.00% and Instagram to spread the word about small, easy changes everyone can make in their lives to mitigate climate change.
Another video called “sustainable flirting” teaches you how to make better decisions when getting ready for a date. Both men and women use health and beauty products like makeup, deodorant, cologne, and hair products before leaving the house. These have chemicals that don’t break-up and accumulate in the ecosystem (“Talk about a shitty party,” says Flynn.) So it’s important to use products that are organic. “Ignore fancy words like ”natural’ or ‘hypoallergenic’ on the front and choose products with shorter lists of ingredients and avoid things that have synthetic fragrance,” she advises. Red lipsticks are particularly known for containing toxins like lead, so check if yours does!
Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/alysonkrueger/2015/11/18/want-to-combat-climate-change-give-up-red-lipstick-drink-local-and-fly-direct-no-problem/
Consumer products do occasionally contain bizarre and dangerous additives. The “Mercurochrome” antiseptic my Mum used to apply to scrapes and cuts, contained substantial quantities of hideously toxic organic Mercury compounds. China in 2007 got into a lot of trouble, because some Chinese companies were adding anti-freeze to Toothpaste. Similarly, some European companies got busted in 1985 because they were adding anti-freeze to wine.
Here is what the FDA has to say about
Mercury Lead and Lipstick.
What did FDA’s expanded survey reveal about lipsticks on the market?
The expanded survey found that the average lead concentration in the 400 lipsticks tested was 1.11 ppm, very close to the average of 1.07 ppm obtained in our initial survey. The results ranged from the detection limit of 0.026 ppm to the highest value of 7.19 ppm. For a table of the results, see FDA Analyses of Lead in Lipsticks – Expanded Survey. The expanded survey will be published in the May/June, 2012, issue of the Journal of Cosmetic Science.
Is there a safety concern about the lead levels FDA found in lipsticks?
No. We have assessed the potential for harm to consumers from use of lipstick containing lead at the levels found in both rounds of testing. Lipstick, as a product intended for topical use with limited absorption, is ingested only in very small quantities. We do not consider the lead levels we found in the lipsticks to be a safety concern. The lead levels we found are within the limits recommended by other public health authorities for lead in cosmetics, including lipstick.
Read more: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductsIngredients/Products/ucm137224.htm
Obviously its possible that any cosmetic products you buy in a third world flea market while on holiday might not meet FDA standards, though I don’t know why anyone would think this reservation would particularly apply to red lipstick. Having said that, I think its safe to say that on this issue at least, provided you exercise a modicum of caution about your sources, Cassie Flyn is talking nonsense.