Lead on your lips
Ancient Roman cosmetics were notoriously poisonous — despite the fact that it was already a well-known toxin
, folks slathered their faces in white lead and dabbed red lead rouge on their cheeks. You wouldn't drop dead from a single application. The problem built up over time, as more and more and more of the stuff was applied (and absorbed) by your body. And that's still true today. In a new column for The New York Times — all about chemicals and your environment — Deb Blum writes about the lead (and aluminum and cadmium and all sorts of of other metals) that contaminates modern lipstick
. The doses are low, much lower than Roman times. But the reapplications are many. Lipstick wearers touch up their color as often as 20 times in a single day.