11.29.2007  BY DR. KATE
When you read yet another chain e-mail in your inbox, does a small part of you wonder if there's any truth in it? I'd like to believe that a well-meaning person sends these hoaxes, for I don't know who directly benefits from panicking the public in this way. I received yet another edition of "Info from the Mt. Sinai breast cancer unit" about lead-containing lipsticks, and would like to deconstruct it for you.

  • The information comes from Dr. Nahid Neman. False. No such person exists, hint number one of the hokum to follow.
  • Multiple lipstick brands contain lead. Probably true, though the levels of lead meet currently accepted safety standards (read here for a more detailed explanation of the FDA regulations).
  • Lead is a chemical which causes cancer. False, mostly. Lead is more directly linked to brain damage and nerve disorders--none of them fun, but this e-mail is playing on our fear of the C-word.
  • If your lipstick stays longer, it is because of the higher content of lead. Unknown, but probably false--no studies have linked staying power to lead content.
The American Cancer Society, which indexes popular e-mail hoaxes, is clear about the lack of danger they perceive from lipsticks. And the ACS is very conservative in their opinions--we can take great comfort from their findings. Do you have any concerns about the safety of your lipstick?


Netty said:

My mother is always forwarding me email hoaxes, and I always have to de-bunk them for her. Haven't come across this one yet, but at least I will be ahead of the game when she sends this one my way.

Maddie said:

kudos to the ACS for compositing and making this info available to everyone. I'm much more of a skeptic than a gullible gal, but I took great comfort (and had one or two chuckles...) in reading through the hoaxes. "Does it really help fight cancer if I forward this chain letter?" seriously?

Sara said:

I'd like to issue a bulletin to moms everywhere: these emails are fake. Please don't forward them on. We know youre relatively new to the internet and all that, but please, just stop.

Daughters Everywhere

OConnell said:

Informative Enlightening well done not racey at all

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After a break-up, do everything you can to avoid rose-colored hindsight. This may include playing that montage of fond memories over and over in the theater of your mind with the Dolby surround-sound system playing Muse or Maroon 5 on repeat. No good can come of this; you'll simply end up feeling more inadequate, lonely, and depressed. Instead, focus on your ex's faults. There must be at least one (besides their ability to live without you), even if it's just a malformed pinkie toe or a tendency to douse every meal in ketchup.
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