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Report Calls for Better Regulation of Heavy Metals in Canadian Cosmetics

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TORONTO - An environmental advocacy group is urging the government to impose stricter regulations on the cosmetics industry after publishing a report that suggests many makeup products contain a number of toxic heavy metals.

The report titled "Heavy Metal Hazards" by Environmental Defence calls on Health Canada to improve its cosmetics regulation and make companies list all metals on their product labels - moves which are being decried by representatives of the cosmetics industry.

The group tested 49 makeup products and found all of them contained varying amounts of heavy metals, including one lip gloss which contained levels of arsenic and lead exceeding limits recommended by Health Canada.

"The fact that virtually all the products were tested had some levels of these chemicals is a concern," said Rick Smith, executive director of Environmental Defence. "Heavy metals are linked to quite serious human disease."

While the report found products tested largely met draft guidelines prepared by Health Canada in 2009, Environmental Defence is urging the government to revise the rules to reflect that lower levels of certain metals are "technically avoidable" in the manufacturing process.

"A big part of our message to Health Canada is 'Can you please get a move on adopting them, and before you do, can you please improve them,'" said Smith. "The fact that at the moment the federal government isn't regulating these chemicals as it should, that

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