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08.11.2008 General News

Kiss of death – Lipstick gives cancer

By The Spectator
Kiss of death – Lipstick gives cancer

Women who use lipsticks are at risk of getting cancer because research in recent times has revealed that some lipsticks that contain lead can be poisonous when absorbed into the tissues of the lips.

Lead, the experts say, can cause renal failure as a result of the kidneys becoming dysfunctional.

The Mt Sinai Hospital in Toronto, Canada which posted the findings on the internet, said the higher the lead content in the lipstick, the greater the chances of it causing cancer.

It warned: "Watch out for those lipsticks which are supposed to stay longer. If your lipstick stays longer, it is because of the higher content of lead."

Dr Nahid Neman from the Breast Cancer Unit of the hospital said, "To test whether a lipstick contains lead one has to put some on her hand, use a gold ring to scratch on it and if the lipstick colour changes to black then it confirms that the lipstick contains lead."

When contacted, Dr (Mrs) Beatrice Wiafe ,Addai, General Surgeon and Specialist in Breast Pathology and women issues said when it comes to the importa¬tion of beauty products Ghanaians are at a disadvantage because of the influx of certain products into the country which women mostly fall prey to.

Although she did not establish that lipstick contained lead, she said that just as mercury is found in most of the bleaching creams which cause cancer of the skin, if researchers say there is lead in lipstick it should be of public concern because lead could change the cell structure of the skin and the frequent “accumulation of lead can lead to several diseases in future."

"As at now we don't know the exact causes of cancer although only a few are known, but it's important to us as women to lead a healthy lifestyle."

She said, "Smoking causes lung cancer, and about 85 per cent of all liver cancers are due to Hepatitis B positive patients".

The Breast Pathologist, however, said that although cancer of the cervix is viral, some¬times it could be developed without viral in¬fection.

She confirmed some lipsticks stay longer on the lips but attributed it to the tattoo some women use.

"If it's the tattoo then some men are also at risk when they kiss their women who have applied lipstick."

Dr (Mrs) Wiafe suggested to the Ghana Standards Board, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and the Food and Drugs Board to test some of the lipsticks imported into the country to ensure consumers are safe.

She advised women to be mindful of what they use on their bodies and not to go in for cheap products without knowing their sources and what they contain. They should rather buy better products.

"If the product is good it should have some literature in it," she said.

When the Spectator interviewed some cosmetologists they confirmed that there is lead in some lipsticks but it is so minute that it is harmless.