Assessment of lead and cadmium levels in frequently used cosmetic products in Iran

J Environ Public Health. 2013:2013:962727. doi: 10.1155/2013/962727. Epub 2013 Sep 23.


This study aims to investigate the content of lead and cadmium in most frequently used brands of cosmetic products (lipstick and eye shadow) in Iran. Fifty samples of lipstick (5 colors in 7 brands) and eye shadow (3 colors in 5 brands) were selected taken from large cosmetic stores in Isfahan (Iran) and lead and cadmium of them were analyzed. The results showed that the concentration of lead and cadmium in the lipsticks was within the range of 0.08-5.2 µ g/g and 4.08-60.20 µ g/g, respectively. The eye shadow samples had a lead level of 0.85-6.90 µ g/g and a cadmium level of 1.54-55.59 µ g/g. The content range of the heavy metals in the eye shadows was higher than that of the lipsticks. There was significant difference between the average of the lead content in the different brands of the lipsticks and eye shadows. Thus, the continuous use of these cosmetics can increase the absorption of heavy metals, especially Cd and Pb, in the body when swallowing lipsticks or through dermal cosmetic absorption. The effects of heavy metals such as lead can be harmful, especially for pregnant women and children. Therefore, effort must be made to inform the users and the general public about the harmful consequences of cosmetics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cadmium / analysis*
  • Cadmium / metabolism
  • Consumer Product Safety*
  • Cosmetics / adverse effects*
  • Cosmetics / analysis*
  • Humans
  • Iran / epidemiology
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Lead / metabolism
  • Skin Absorption


  • Cosmetics
  • Cadmium
  • Lead