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Determination of Heavy Metals in Different Brands of Lipstick Sold in Nigeria

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Heavy metals are metallic elements which have high atomic weight and density Heavy metals when present above their threshold level could be hazardous to the body system, even though they are required in minute quantities for normal body metabolism. Such metals like lead, cadmium, chromium, copper and nickel could find their way into the body consumption of the lipstick. Different brands of lipstick were analyzed for lead, cadmium, chromium, copper and nickel using atomic absorption spectrophotometer (AAS). The average concentration (u/g) of these heavy metal showed that some were at tolerable level and these include chromium (0.50u/g), Nickel (0.500u/g) while lead (0.100u/g), cadmium (0.010) were above the threshold level. The concentration (u/g) of lead, cadmium, copper and nickel are 0.100u/g, 0.005u/g, 0.050u/g, 0.010u/g and 0.500u/g respectively. This work reveals that the lipstick has been contaminated with the aforementioned heavy metals from the experiment carried out.


1.0 Introduction

A cosmetic product is any substance or preparation intended to be placed in contact with the various external parts of the human body (epidermis, hair system, nails, lips and external genital organs), or applied to the teeth and the mucous membranes of the oral cavity with a view exclusively or mainly for the purpose of cleaning, perfuming, protection, changing their appearance, correcting body odours and keeping the surfaces in good condition (Adepoju and Bello., 2012).

Cosmetics are mixtures of some surfactants, oils and other ingredients and are required to be effective, long-lasting, stable and safe to human use (Gondal et al., 2005).The various forms of cosmetic include lipstick and lipgloss (used to colour the lips), powder and rouge (used to colour the face, lightening and removing flaws to produce an impression of health and youth, mascara ( used to enhance the eye lashes, eye liner and eye shadow (used to colour the eyelids), and nail polish (used to colour the finger nails and toe nails)

(Gondal et al., 2005).

1.1 Lipstick

Lipstick is a cosmetic product containing pigments, oils, waxes and emollient that apply colour, texture and protection to the lips. Lipsticks has been in existence from the 13th century among the ancient Sumerians (including men and women) and also among the ancient Egyptians who wore lipsticks to show social status rather than gender, the Egyptians extracted red dye from fucus-algin, 0.01% iodine and some bromine mannite to make lipstick, but the dye resulted in serious illness (Angeloglou, 2015 ).

The threat of any contaminant to human health is a function of its concentration in the body. Many heavy metals are present in lipstick, some of these are used as coloring agents, some of these are added as intentionally ingredients, while some are added accidently from environment. Some cosmetic products are directly applied to the skin such as lipstick. They enter into body i.e the heavy metals and cause the hazardous effect to the internal body organs.

Cosmetics such as lipstick are the important source of releasing heavy metals in the environment cosmetic represent an important source of sensitization, since they are used every day and are applied to the thinnest area of facial skin, such as the pre-ocular areas and lips where absorption is very high (Angeloglou, 2015 ).

Heavy metals are also incorporated to beauty product for many purposes. The toxicity of heavy metals have been shown to have negative effect. Cancerous breast biopsies show higher accumulations of nickel, chromium, cadmium, mercury and lead than noncancerous biopsies and several metals act like estrogen in the presence of some breast cancer cells. Lead, which may be an impurity, is a proven neurotoxin linked to learning, language and behavioral problems, it has also been linked to miscarriage, reduced fertility in men and women, hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities and delays in puberty onset in girls. Pregnant women and young children are also vulnerable because lead crosses the placenta and may enter the fetal brain (Hammond and Luis., 2013).

Mercury is particularly hazardous during foetal development and is readily absorbed by the skin, mercury is linked to nervous system toxicity as well as reproductive, immune and respiratory toxicity. Mercury is not highly common as direct ingredients or impurity, but the high toxicity of this metal means that the presence of mercury in any cosmetic is a concern (Hawkes., 2001).

Heavy metal can appear as impurities in finishing production. It is a by product during the cosmetic manufacturing process either formed by the breakdown of ingredients, or an environmental contaminant of raw ingredients. Although some heavy metals such as zinc ( Zn), iron (Fe), copper (Cu) are important in the body but some heavy metals such as arsenic, lead nickel are toxic to the body when in higher concentration (Ayenimo., 2010).

Method to be applied in determining the heavy metals is Wet Digestion, and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer will be used in analysis of the heavy metals.

1.2. Justification

Since cosmetic products like lipsticks are accepted in the society and are widely used by women in different parts of the world it is therefore necessary to determine the concentration of each heavy metals also likely to be present in the products, to prevent health problems.

1.3 Aim

– To determine heavy metals in different brands of lipstick sold in Kaduna market

1.4 Objective

  1. To determine the possibility of the presence of heavy metals in lipstick
  2. To determine the concentration of each heavy metals likely to be present in lipstick

iii. To relate the level of heavy metals likely to be found to be tolerant level for human safety.


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