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Cosmetics found to have toxic metals

By Lu Feiran (Shanghai Daily)

09:26, February 24, 2012

Researchers in Canada and the United States have revealed a dirty little secret behind beauty. Some international brands of cosmetics contain toxic heavy metals, Britain's Daily Mail reported yesterday.

Its report named Clinique, Maybelline and L'Oreal as some of the brands involved.

According to MaxHealth, a Canadian-based health science website, Clinique Stay-True Makeup (Stay Ivory) contained arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel, lead and thallium while Cover Girl Perfect Point Plus Eyeliner contained beryllium, cadmium, nickel and lead, the newspaper said.

L'Oreal Bare Naturale, a popular mascara, was shown to contain arsenic, beryllium, cadmium, nickel, lead and thallium.

On average, each product tested contained four toxins of concern. The heavy metals were not listed on the packaging as they were considered "impurities," and not added intentionally but existed only as byproducts, the Daily Mail report said.

The toxins, which can be absorbed through the skin, can affect the nervous system and cause health problems such as hormone disruption, cancer, memory loss, mood swings, reproductive and developmental disorders, kidney problems, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, lung damage, dermatitis and hair loss.

Yesterday, Estee Lauder, Clinique's parent company, told Shanghai Daily that the Stay-True Makeup products were not sold on the Chinese mainland. All its products that were sold on the mainland had passed the Chinese authorities' quality tests.

However, some of the products on the list, including the Clinique makeup, are still available on some Chinese e-commerce platforms. Some vendors bought the products outside China for resale to Chinese customers.

Earlier, in the United States, L'Oreal and Maybelline products were also found to contain toxic heavy metals, the Daily Mail said.

The US Food and Drug Administration said they found 400 types of cosmetics contained excessive amounts of lead, of 1.11 milligrams per kilogram on average. Among 10 products which contained the most lead, half were from Maybelline or L'Oreal.

Lead is a neurotoxin that is known to accumulate over time. It causes behavioral and learning problems.

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