'GMA' Tests Lipsticks, Glosses for Lead

Have you ever wondered what's in lipstick? "GMA" tested lipsticks and glosses for lead.
3:22 | 12/03/12

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Transcript for 'GMA' Tests Lipsticks, Glosses for Lead
putting on lipstick as you watched this, have you ever thought what's in lipstick? Yes. I know, josh, you wanted to know. Heidi was going to tell us but she doesn't know either. We're wondering does it contain lead? If it does contain lead, whether that is a problem. Abc's consumer correspondent elisabeth leamy went behind the counterto find out what might be lurking in our lipstick. Reporter: In movies like "the breakfast club" and "clueless" when the characters apply lipstick, it transforms them. ♪ Reporter: But can lead in lipstick cause changes, too? We brought 22 different lipsticks and glosses and brought them to underwriters laboratory for lead testing. We get down to the parts per million and billion. Reporter: U.L. Found 12 of the 22 samples, 55% contained trace amounts of lead. That may sound worrisome, but it's not illegal because there are no industry standards. They acombied by them regularly. Reporter: We found lead levels ranged from no detectable levels to 3.22 parts per million. That's below the limit for lipstick in california. And it's progress because it's less than what the food and drug administration tested lipstick in 2010. But anti-lead manufacturers say manufacturers should remove all lead. That's the upside of that. Half of them don't contain lead. Reporter: Activists warned that a woman wearing lipstick can pass lead to her baby internally when she's pregnant, but nobody knows if 9 amount is significant. The fda considers amounts of lipstick safe. But another government agencies, the centers for disease control says there is no safe level in a child's body. What we know now is, even the lowest levels of lead can harm your i.Q., Your behavior, your ability to learn. And so we want to make sure that it's out of everything that is in environment of children. Reporter: The cosmetics industry counters that worrying about trace amounts of lead and lipstick distracts from other much greater risks. If you're really serious about the public health aspects of lead poisoning, you wouldn't be looking at lipstick. You would be looking at locations where children live. Do they live near hazardous waste dumps. Are they choosing lead containing paint fragments. Reporter: It's a difficult debate which may leave women persing their lips, wondering what to do. Elisabeth leamy, abc news, massachusetts. If you want to wear lipstick without wearing it, it's difficult. We compared reds to pinks, asian made to american made, lipstick to gloss. And found no pattern as to where

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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