Fact-check: The Lead in Lipstick is Safe

lead-lipstick-hoax

lead-lipstick-hoax

This “lead in lipstick” hoax has been going around Facebook again – it’s actually pretty ancient (goes back to the early 2000s) and refuses to die. Here’s one version:

lead-lipstick-hoax-facebook

All the versions of this chain email are slightly different but all have the same themes… and all are BS. There’s a whole bunch of wrong in this scary-sounding PSA.

Firstly:

Recently a brand called “Red Earth” decreased their prices from $67 to $9.90.

This bloody factoid changes currencies all the damn time – let’s pretend it’s in Australian dollars, cos it’s probably the way it’ll make most sense. Red Earth was never $67, and it sure as hell isn’t $9.90 now. Even if you don’t know science, you should know that Red Earth is a comfortable $24.

Why? Because it contained lead.

This is true. BECAUSE EVERYTHING CONTAINS LEAD. The thing is, atoms and molecules are really really really really really really ridiculously tiny. According to some maths, each of us contains about 200 billion of Shakespeare’s atoms (and 200 billion atoms from anyone else who’s ever lived and been dead for a while), so it’s not surprising that in your lipstick, there’s at least one atom of an element that was spewing into the atmosphere for 80 years thanks to leaded petrol. So a “trace amount of lead” is unavoidable in everything outside of the most high tech, fanciest lab.

So the real question is, how much lead is there? They’ve got one thing right:

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