Health Update: Vanity old and new

LEAD has been eroding European women's skin since the Bronze Age, according to a report in the Lancet. Researchers at a Mycenaean cemetery in Greece say that while excavating a tomb from 1350-1100 BC they found about 50g of loose powder, believed to be for cosmetic use, which has a high lead content. Lead- based cosmetics can cause severe health problems, yet even today lead can be found in a red face-cream used by Indian women and some hair dyes available in Europe and the US. 'Vanity has proved very resistant to health warnings,' the researchers conclude.