Fears that some big brands of cosmetics may contain lead have prompted a warning for women in Australia not to use lipstick.
The warnings come in the wake of last week's ruling that a US class action against luxury goods giant LVMH, which manufactures Dior Addict Positive Red lipstick, could proceed. The lipstick had been found to contain unacceptably high lead levels, reports theage.com.au.
LVMH had requested that the lawsuit filed against it in November be thrown out, but a Chicago court rejected the request, allowing the case to go ahead.
The bold, blood-red Dior lipstick, which is sold at beauty counters across Australia, was among dozens of lipsticks found to contain lead after a US lobby group, Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, hired an independent laboratory to test for the toxic metal in 33 brand-name lipsticks.
The results, published last October, revealed that 61 percent of the lipsticks had detectable lead levels.
A third of these exceeded the US Food and Drug Administration's acceptable level of lead (0.1 parts per million) for ingestible products. The Dior lipstick was found to contain twice the allowed level.
In Australia, it is mandatory for cosmetics to list all ingredients on their labels and for cosmetics containing lead to carry warning statements and safety directions.
The Dior lipstick at the centre of the US class action has 0.21ppm of lead but does not list it as an ingredient or carry a warning.
Cosmetics containing more than 250 milligrams per kilogram, or 250ppm, of lead (such as some hair dyes) are banned in Australia unless special permission is granted by the customs minister.