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Parents should pay more than lip service to new product warning

In California, unsafe products are around us all the time, whether or not we know it. From a faulty car seat to mislabeled food to choking hazards for kids, the potential for danger is high. But one product many people never thought might be hazardous is now being called into question: lipstick.

A recent study by the Food and Drug Administration found that several brands of lipstick sold in the U.S. tested positive for lead. While the concentration was relatively low, it could still lead to problems for those who are exposed to it.

Many people could, and do, use lipstick without ever having problems relating to the lead content. In fact, the brands with the highest concentrations, such as Maybelline and L'Oreal, are some of the most popular brands on the market. And the FDA's study found the cheapest brand for sale, something called Wet n' Wild Mega Mixers Lip Balm Bahama Mama, was the least contaminated of any of the hundreds of lipsticks tested.

While casual use of lipstick would not cause problems for most people, the danger is when children come in contact with it. Kids might be attracted to lipstick as a toy, and children young enough to not know better might be tempted to eat it.

Experts say that lead can harm the development of young brains and potentially lead to issues such as language development. While these might be rare cases, parents and those with compromised immune systems should be vigilant about the cosmetics they use.

Source: USA Today, "FDA finds trace amounts of lead in 400 lipsticks," Tara Meyer, Feb. 15, 2012

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