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For Immediate Release: December 3rd, 2007
Contact:  Stacy Malkan, (510) 848-5343 x105, smalkan@hcwh.org; Cindy Luppi, (617) 338-8131 x208, cluppi@cleanwater.org

SENS. KERRY, BOXER AND FEINSTEIN CALL ON FDA TO ESTABLISH MAXIMUM LEVEL FOR LEAD IN LIPSTICK

WASHINGTON—U.S. Senators John Kerry, Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer are urging the Food and Drug Administration to test a wide range of lipstick brands for the presence of lead, to publicly report their results, and to limit lead in lipstick and other cosmetics products to “the lowest detectable levels found in laboratory tests.”

The action by three U.S. Senators comes on the heels of a report last month by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, which found lead in 61 percent of 33 lipsticks tested. Levels ranged from 0.02 to 0.65 parts per million.

One-third of the lipsticks exceeded the FDA-recommended limit for lead in candy. Currently the agency sets no limit for lead in cosmetics products, nor does it require companies to safety test products before putting them on the shelves.

The FDA told the Associated Press in October that the agency would “look into” the laboratory results of lead in lipstick disclosed by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. More than six weeks later, FDA has not released any data.

“We commend the U.S. Senate for pushing FDA to take action. By remaining silent on this issue, FDA is not protecting the health of the American public,” said Cindy Luppi, New England Program Director for Clean Water Action, a member of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.

“Dangerous levels of lead in lipstick is the latest reminder that insufficient safeguards at the FDA pose real risks to everyday Americans,” Kerry said in a statement. “There has been a continuous flow of unnerving news in recent months about the FDA’s clear lack of oversight and inspection. Washington is gambling with our health, whether we are aware of it or not. It’s time for the FDA to start taking this responsibility more seriously.”

Sen. Kerry’s press release can be found at http://kerry.senate.gov/cfm/record.cfm?id=287801.
Click here to view a PDF of the letter from Sens. Kerry, Feinstein and Boxer.

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Founding members of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics include: Alliance for a Healthy Tomorrow, Breast Cancer Fund, Clean Water Fund, Commonweal, Environmental Working Group, Friends of the Earth, Massachusetts Breast Cancer Coalition, National Black Environmental Justice Network, National Environmental Trust and Women's Voices for the Earth.