Lipstick or Diabetes? Cosmetics and BPA

Somehow the urge to use makeup passed me by entirely. I’m quite prepared to accept my mug the way it is. Now it turns out that may have helped me dodge the diabetes bullet because it has lowered my exposure to BPA.

BPA (the phthalate Bisphenol A) is found in lipstick, eyeliner, mascara, nail polish and the containers that deliver them. Phthalates don’t stay in the tubes or the surface of our skin. They travel right through our pores and into the blood stream.

BPA and Diabetes

A new study from Sweden’s Uppsala University says phthalates may increase the risk of diabetes, a disease that has reached epidemic proportions around the world. For the study, researchers tested 1,016 70-year-olds, including 119 who had diabetes. The scientists discovered those with higher levels of phthalates in their blood had about twice the risk of developing diabetes than those with lower levels.

In an e-mail to WebMD, researcher P. Monica Lind said, “Even at relatively low levels of phthalate metabolites in the blood, the risk of getting diabetes begins to rise.”

This is not the first time BPA has been linked to diabetes. A team of Spanish and Mexican researchers made the connection in a study published in 2005. They called on the Environmental Protection Agency to lower the level considered safe for daily exposure. (A quick check of EPA’s Integrated Risk Information System shows no change.)

BPA Is Everywhere

Phthalates are common in cosmetics, personal care products, baby bottles, sales receipts and all kinds of plastics (including pop bottles and the lining of food cans). Since they are so ubiquitous and are not identified on labels, even the most cautious consumer will ingest some level of BPA.

Care2 has carried numerous posts on the risks associated with BPA, including the five linked below. Studies have linked phthalates to “an increased risk of prostate cancer, to heart disease, to damage of the reproductive system.” It can cause changes in breast tissue, body size, brain structure and behavior in laboratory animals. It is a weak endocrine disruptor.

Given the increasing weight of evidence, you might think regulators would ban it. However, that is not the case in North America or most of the world. In 2008, Health Canada classed the chemical as a health hazard but only ousted it from baby bottles. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration just announced it will not ban BPA on cans and food packaging because the research is inconclusive.

A quick search for “Bisphenol A” on Google Scholar returns 168,000 links. Scanning the titles reveals a heavy load of damning evidence. Apparently that is not enough to prompt action. Once again, the “precautionary principle” means protecting the interests of industry rather than consumers.

Related Care2 Stories

Canada Health: BPA’s a Toxin But It’s Okay to Have It In Our Food

FDA Won’t Ban BPA in Food

New Study Looks at Effects of Chronic and Continuous BPA Exposure

Photo credit: Thinkstock

Love This? Never Miss Another Story.


Duane B.
.2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

Cristina Calloni
Cristina Calloni3 years ago

Than for information. it is terrifying.

Silvija Vlahovec
Silvija Vlahovec3 years ago

oh my....

Mandy B.
Mandy B.3 years ago

sure lipstick may be is breathing houston air.

Alison D.
Alison Duncan3 years ago

Find out what's in your make up and which brands are safe to use, well, safer.

I'm switching all my make up based on this website info.

Kirsten Parker
Kirsten P.3 years ago

Why do the US and Canada seem to not make any progress on the issue of BPA?? What is holding them back from banning it altogether? I guess I am just naive but it seems to me that if all of these studies are showing that it is causing all of this harm to people, WHY do we continue to allow it???

Angel C.
.3 years ago

Seems like everything is out to kill us...

Ebba S.
Ebba S.3 years ago

Honestly, I find it hard to believe that lipstick would be the biggest source of BPA to which a person is exposed. There are many more things that could be at play here

Susan V.
Susan V.3 years ago

Also consider the lead in lipstick:

Sam Richardson

Reading articles like this makes me really, really glad that I never cared for lipstick or makeup as a kid, teenager and now adult.

Yea, I'd rather minimise potential risks to my health than look pretty for the boys, thanks.