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Techniques & Tools Mass Spectrometry, Microscopy

Killer Smile

After reports of high lead levels in Chinese lip products, a research group at the State Key Laboratory of Pollution Control and Resource Reuse, Nanjing University (Hongbo Li, Lena Ma, and PhD candidate Di Zhao) carried out a study into the concentrations of lead in popular cosmetics – and whether they pose a threat to lovers of lippy.

“To accurately assess the health risks of lead in lip products, understanding lead bioavailability – the fraction of lead absorbed into the bloodstream following oral ingestion – is essential,” says Hongbo Li. “Until recently, there were no systematic studies available, with previous studies (1)(2)(3) focusing only on total lead concentrations in lip products without considering the bioavailability.” The research group had been focusing primarily on the bioavailability of contaminants in various matrices – including soil, dust, and food – following oral ingestion by humans, so lip products were an obvious progression.

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About the Author

Joanna Cummings

A former library manager and storyteller, I have wanted to write for magazines since I was six years old, when I used to make my own out of foolscap paper and sellotape and distribute them to my family. Since getting my MSc in Publishing, I’ve worked as a freelance writer and content creator for both digital and print, writing on subjects such as fashion, food, tourism, photography – and the history of Roman toilets. Now I can be found working on The Analytical Scientist, finding the ‘human angle’ to cutting-edge science stories.

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