By Laura Turner Seydel

When it comes time to pucker up this Valentine’s Day, think twice about the color you paint your lips. Sure red might be the official hue of February, but instead, this year, go green (not literally, of course!) and treat your body to a toxin-free holiday.

For years, the topic of lead content in cosmetics has been the cause of much debate. In a 2007 report issued by the National Campaign for Safe Cosmetics (www.safecosmetics.org), studies found that two-thirds of lipsticks tested, specifically shades of red, contained noticeable amounts of lead. Easily absorbed through the skin and digested when eating or drinking, lead is a potent neurotoxin that has been linked to numerous health and reproductive problems.

Since cosmetics are not subject to pre-market approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) nor has the FDA made strides to reverse the findings from this study, it is more important than ever that we educate ourselves about the dangers of lead and find non-toxic alternatives.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) has gone to great lengths to educate consumers about the dangers of chemical toxins and established the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database (www.cosmeticdatabase.com), an online safety guide of cosmetics and personal care products.

Among other personal care products, the EWG tested 2,106 brands of lipstick for their toxicity and lead content and rated them from best to worst. While many well-known brands of lipstick were found to contain lead, there were many which were lead free, including Revlon’s Colorstay Lipcolor Red Velvet, MAC Matte Lipstick Viva Glam and Estee Lauder Maraschino.

Until the cosmetic industry can police itself, we must continue to arm ourselves with knowledge to ensure that we are not exposing ourselves to harmful toxins and instead pamper ourselves with organic luxury.

For more green living tips, visit www.lauraseydel.com.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.