Watchdog warns against lead-laden fake cosmetics

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Excessive lead has been found in fake cosmetics by a product watchdog.

Ecowaste Coalition over the weekend said it detected lead reaching 3780 parts per million (ppm) in 11 bogus MAC lipsticks.

This exceeds the Asean Cosmetic Directive’s limit of 20 ppm maximum lead in cosmetics.

The coalition said it used a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device to detect excessive lead in MAC imitation lipsticks.


Nearly all the identified branded fakes exceeding 20 ppm were from “MAC Zac Posen” lipstick collection.

Only “MAC Charlotte Olympia” and “MAC Vivaglam” were not from this collection.

The fake “MAC Zac Posen’” variant “Girl About Town” (No. 08) had 3,780 ppm total lead; “Embrace Me” (No. 05) had 2,719 ppm; “Rudy Woo” (No. 12) had 2,443 ppm; and “Kinda Sexy” (No. 14) had 923 ppm.

“Lead exposure has been linked to learning, language and behavioral problems, decreased fertility in both women and men, hormonal changes and abnormal menstrual cycles, and delayed onset of puberty in girls and deferred development of testes in boys,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.

It may also put at risk pregnant women, leading to miscarriage, premature birth and reduced fetal growth, it added.

Lead exposure can also harm their baby’s brain and central nervous system, the coalition said.

“Some consumers knowingly pick branded counterfeits like ‘MAC’ because these are cheaper than the real ones, and also because these are supposedly closer to the original products in terms of quality. But, as our investigation shows, branded fakes can be notoriously toxic,” according to Thony Dizon, coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Dizon said these cosmetics sold by unathorized retailers at bargain prices are “obviously falsified and substandard.”

Ecowaste Coalition urged consumers to be vigilant in the cosmetics they buy to avoid exposure to lead’s hazardous effects.

MICAH M. VARDELEON

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