According to new product tests, 61 percent of the brand-name lipsticks tested contained detectable levels of lead, which can be toxic if ingested.
The top brands testing positive for lead included L'Oréal Colour Riche "True Red," L'Oréal Colour Riche "Classic Wine," Cover Girl Incredifull Lipcolor "Maximum Red" and Dior Addict "Positive Red."
"The L'Oréal Group is committed to upholding the highest standards of safety for all the products it makes and sells. Each and every ingredient used in our products has been thoroughly reviewed and tested by our internal safety team," the company said in an emailed statement.
Spokespeople for Cover Girl and Dior were not immediately available for comment. One-third of the tested lipsticks exceeded the Food and Drug Administration's limit for lead in candy -- a standard established to protect children from directly ingesting lead, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said. Pregnant women and young children are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure. Although lipstick products are also ingested into the body, the FDA has not set a limit for lead in lipstick, the CSC said.
The FDA "has set strict limits for lead levels allowed in the colors used in lipsticks," according to John Bailey, the executive vice president for the Science Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association.
"The products identified in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report meet these standards."
"Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels. The latest studies show there is no safe level of lead exposure," Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, president, Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice, said in a statement.
The lead tests were conducted by an independent laboratory over the month of September on red lipsticks bought in Boston, Hartford, Conn., San Francisco and Minneapolis.