In yet another example of serious oversight, advocacy groups have revealed that the health industry watchdog is failing to act on information about cosmetics containing lead.
Although Campaign for Safe Cosmetics signaled a year ago that 61 percent of lipsticks it had tested contained lead, and despite pressure from politicians and health advocates, FDA has thus far failed to issue a public warning or conduct its own study.
"The typical turnaround time in a laboratory for lead tests is 10 days. There’s no reason for FDA to sit on its lead-in-lipstick research for over a year," says Stacy Malkan of the CSC, a national coalition of health and environmental groups.
The coalition believes that the lead problem stretches beyond lipsticks and cites a recent announcement from the Canadian government that it had found lead in children’s face paint.
Health Canada, the equivalent of FDA, has designated several compounds found in cosmetics as toxic, a step towards their elimination. However, FDA "has no such toxic designation, does not conduct routine safety testing of personal care products, and does not publicly report information in a timely manner," according to the CSC statement.
These latest revelations follow recent criticism leveled at the agency by President Obama after a salmonella outbreak linked to tainted peanut butter killed eight people and sickened hundreds.