During the Edo period, from 1603 to 1867, Japan was ruled by a series of shoguns. Below the shogun, a few hundred feudal lords presided over the country's agricultural domains, each from within a castle-town headquarters that was protected by a cadre of samurai military nobles.
A team lead by Tamiji Nakashima, an anatomist at the University of Occupational and Environmental Health in Kitakyushu, studied the remains of 70 samurai men, their wives and children. The researchers sampled the lead in rib bones, and X-rayed some of the children's long arm and leg bones looking for signs of lead poisoning.
What they found surprised them: kids with enough lead in their systems to cause severe intellectual impairment. Children under age 3 were the worst off, with a median level of 1,241 micrograms of lead per gram of dry bone. That's more than 120 times the level thought to cause neurological and behavioral problems today and as much as 50 times higher than levels the team found in samurai adults. Older kids' levels were lower, but still very high.
In this and previous studies, Nakashima and colleagues showed that samurai women had higher lead levels in their bones than samurai men did, and the researchers' suspicions settled on the women's cosmetics. A lead-based white face powder was fashionable among the elite during the Edo period, introduced by celebrity geisha, courtesans and Kabuki actors.
"The lower class people (farmers and fishermen) did not have the luxury of using cosmetics and the laws strictly prohibited [them] from using cosmetics because they were workers."
Nakashima and his team think a ruling class addled by lead poisoning may have contributed to political instability, and ultimately to the collapse of the seven-century-old shogun system in 1867, when power shifted cataclysmically from the shogun to the emperor, and life in Japan changed for good.
It wouldn't be the first time lead poisoning rang in the end of an era. Others have suggested that "plumbism" among the Roman elite — whose fancy food and wine was laced with lead leached from cooking equipment — contributed to the fall of the Roman Empire.
Read more at: http://www.livescience.com/11047-lead-po...akeup.html
Interesting eh? And there's still no regulations on what makeup manufacturers can but in their stuff.
400 shades of lipstick found to contain lead, FDA says
And that's just one of the many sources we have to worry about today...