Lead in cosmetics

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Lead in cosmetics

Postby chayclan » Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:17 pm

I am testing for lead in cosmetics, specifically foundation, lipstick, and eyeshadow. My hypothesis is that the darker the make up the more lead it will contain.
I tried using Abotex lead testing kit which states that we can leach out the lead from these products using vinegar and then test a small amount of the vinegar using their indicator solution. Using their color chart, I am supposed to be able to semi-quantitate the lead concentration.
I followed their instructions but was not able to get any positive results, even when I tested lipstick that tested positive(7ppm) by the FDA (http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2012 ... metics-fda ).
Through my research I’ve found that there is a machine called XRFanalyzer that can detect lead but that is very expensive to rent. Is there another machine easily accessible and not so expensive or is there another chemical method to leach out and test for lead in cosmetics? Or is there any way that one of your companies may be able to let me use one for less cost?
Posts: 1
Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2013 7:05 pm
Occupation: student, 8th grade
Project Question: Lead in Cosmetics: The darker the shade of cosmetic, the greater the concentration of lead.
Project Due Date: Jan 25, 2013
Project Status: I am conducting my experiment

Re: Lead in cosmetics

Postby edneu3 » Thu Jan 10, 2013 12:47 pm

Hello chayclan,

You are working on an interesting and socially important experiment. Lead in our environment can be a big problem.

I have heard that it has been a problem in cosmetics for some time, and that many manufacturers are working on reducing it.

I am curious how you arrived at your hypothesis that the color of the makeup would be related to the lead content.

I am not familiar with the Abotex test kit you mentioned. Does it have the ability to measure down as low as the 7 pm that you quoted the EPA has measured in your one test sample? Perhaps it is just not accurate enough to measure these low levels?

There are numerous analytical instruments that we use in industry to measure materials such as lead. And, yes, most of them are expensive to purchase and operate. I am sure there is an industry in your area you could work with who would be willing to donate some time to help analyze your materials. The difficult job is to identify them so you can contact one. I suggest you talk with the science teacher in your school and ask them if they know of some local company who would be able and willing to help.

I hope you have fun with this science project!
Ed Neu
Buffalo, MN
Posts: 265
Joined: Wed May 07, 2008 8:36 am
Occupation: Engineer - Product & Technical Development Executive Director
Project Question: n/a
Project Due Date: n/a
Project Status: Not applicable

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