Analysis of lead and arsenic in cosmetics and assessment of students awareness about cosmetic toxicity

Rehna Saidalavi, Hashim A., Kishor Kumar B., Leena Pramod K., Prabhakar Adake


Background: Many people believe that all cosmetics are safe but there are number of studies proving that majority of the cosmetics contains heavy metals or other chemicals. In this study we selected two heavy metals arsenic and lead because as per the Indian scenario is concerned most of the Hindu and Muslim females uses lead/arsenic based cosmetics.

Methods: For the qualitative/quantitative estimation to detect heavy metals such as arsenic and lead in cosmetics, 20 different types of cosmetics were purchased from local market, labelled and analysed by qualitative test for heavy metals method and ICP-AES Analysis of cosmetics method.

Results: A questionnaire was framed out in English and analysis showed that students had an adverse effect while using cosmetic products. Preliminary analysis of some samples gave positive results and for confirmation these samples were sent to IIT Bombay for ICP-AES analysis. Some of the samples showed variable level of heavy metals such as lead and arsenic. Highest concentration of lead and arsenic was found in Surma followed by Sindoor, lip balm and Kajal.

Conclusions: Heavy metals are one of the major contaminant in our eco system. Apart from this a number of cosmetic products also contain the same. Chronic use of this kind of cosmetic products will leads heavy metal toxicity.


Cosmetic toxicity, Cosmetic products, Heavy metals, Surma, Sindoor

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