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CSE writes to regulators and policy makers

Presence of Heavy metals in Cosmetics in India

Toxic heavy metals in cosmetics are a growing concern across the world for several years. Heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium and nickel have reportedly been found in unsafe levels in various cosmetic products. In India, on the other hand, use of cosmetics is rapidly increasing among all sections of society, particularly among young population.

South Asia Convention on Coastal Management

Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) jointly with Pondicherry Citizen’s Action Network (PondyCAN), a Pondicherry based nonprofit organized the South Asia Convention on Coastal Management at Pondicherry between January 19 -21, 2014.

Conserving waterbodies

Both surface and groundwater today in India and other South Asian cities is facing huge quantity and quality threat. Urban areas are facing water logging due to torrential rain. It is time to engineer the ferocious events of rain. Channelising and holding rain water must become the nation’s mission. Lakes, ponds, tanks which are built to hold water must be protected. These waterbodies not only provide drinking water, support livelihoods and biodiversity but also control the rate of runoff and subsequently control the runoff.

List of Participants

     
List of participants    
 

Health Impact of Heavy Metals in Cosmetics

A variety of chemicals are used in cosmetics as ingredients and some are used as preservatives. These chemicals have different health effects.

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.

CSE seeks clarification

CSE shared its findings with the respective companies to find out the reasons for the presence of such high levels of heavy metals in cosmetics. “We hoped that this would help find ways to limit the presence of heavy metals in cosmetics,” say CSE researchers. After several months of correspondence about batch details, testing methodology and follow-ups, only seven companies responded—The Body Shop India, Lakme of Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Emami Ltd, ELCA Cosmetics Pvt Ltd (Estee lauder), Modi Revlon Pvt Ltd and ITC Ltd.

Regulations for cosmetics

India

Cosmetics products in India are regulated under the Drugs and cosmetics Act 1940 and Rules 1945 and Labeling Declarations by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS). BIS sets the standards for cosmetics for the products listed under Schedule ‘S’ of the Drugs and cosmetics Rules 1945 .

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