Data Charts

Chromium in lipsticks

CSE calculated the exposure to heavy metals from cosmetics as percentage of Average Daily Intake (ADI). ADI is the maximum amount of a toxin that a person can be exposed to without any appreciable health risk. The graph below shows the level of exposure from Chromium in different brands of lipsticks as per cent of ADI. Exposure from two types of use—average use (24mg/day) and high use (87mg/day)—has been calculated.

Note: For estimating the exposure for Chromium (Cr), methodology used by Sa Liu, Concentrations and Potential Health Risks of Metals in Lip Products, Environmental Health Perspectives, volume 121, June 2013, was used. The ADI value of 0.0001 mg/day for 50 kg women for Cr VI was used for estimating exposure. This ADI value is derived based on the cancer risk posed by Cr VI. Further, an average use of 24 mg per day and high use of 87 mg per day of lipstick was assumed. CSE tested total Cr and not only Cr VI in lipsticks. Recognising the need for extra precaution, all Cr has been assumed as Cr VI. This assumption is made by most health regulators, including the US Environment Protection Agency while setting standards


Chromium and nickel in lipsticks
Chromium VI is known to cause cancer when inhaled and nickel can cause allergic reaction when it comes in contact with the skin. The graph below shows chromium and nickel together as percentage of total heavy metals allowed in lipsticks through colourants

* Brands found with chromium only (5 out of 18)
** Brands found with nickel only (3 out of 18)

Note: As per Bureau of Indian Standards, 100 ppm of total heavy metals are allowed (other than 20 ppm of lead) through organic colourants. Amount of colourants vary across shades and brands. Based on the information collected from various sources, it is found that organic colourants may comprise up to 6 per cent of lipstick by weight. This means in a lipstick a maximum of 6 ppm of total heavy metals is ultimately allowed because other than organic colourants heavy metals are not allowed from any other sources. The end result is possibly an underestimation for all brands that have less than 6% of organic colourants


Mercury in fairness creams
CSE laboratory found mercury, which lightens the skin by hindering the formation of skin pigment melanin, in fairness creams. The graph below shows the level of exposure from different whitening creams as per cent of ADI. Exposure from two types of use as average use (2.05 g/day) and high use (is 3.99 g/day) has been calculated.

Note: As skin lightening creams commonly use mercury in the form of ammoniated mercuric chloride and mercuric iodide, US Environmental Protection Agency's Oral Reference Dose of 0.0003 mg/kg a day of mercuric chloride was used as ADI. For a 50 kg woman the ADI value is 0.015 mg/day. Average use of skin lightening creams was assumed to be 2.05 g and high use of 3.99 g per day. This was derived from the study "Exposure data for cosmetic products: lipstick, body lotion, and face cream", published in Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2005