Halloween Face Paints Made With ToxinsOct 30, 2009 | Parker Waichman LLP
Some face paints have been found to contain lead, the Environmental News Service (ENS) just announced, citing the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. A problem given that Halloween is tomorrow. ENS described lead as a neurotoxin that can cause problems in the brain, even at low doses.
Some of the paints that underwent laboratory testing contained heavy metals such as nickel, cobalt, and chromium—allergens, noted ENS. Some of the products which are advertised as "non-toxic" and "hypoallergenic," also tested with these metals, which is of concern given that parents shopping—or who have already shopped for Halloween make-up—may have purchased products that contain toxins. Also, it seems that the only way to test if a product contains lead or other heavy metals, is to have the product tested at a lab, said ENS. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics said the tests run about $270 per sample.
"Parents should not have to worry that face paint contains lead and other hazardous substances," said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund and a co-author of the report, "Pretty Scary," quoted ENS. "Companies are not making the safest products possible for children, even though kids are particularly vulnerable to toxic exposures," Archer added.
"Parents are stunned when they learn that these products made for kids have lead and other toxics in them. We don't understand how our government is so lax, nor why the manufacturers are so negligent," said Joan Blades, co-founder of Moms Rising, quoted ENS. Moms Rising is a “coalition member and national advocacy organization focused on family health and economic security,” said ENS.
Ten children’s face paints were sent, unopened, to Analytical Sciences by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, said ENS. Analytical Services, a lab located in Petaluma, California, found that:
- All of the samples tested contained lead in amounts from 0.05 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm).
- Six of the samples contained nickel, cobalt and/or chromium at levels ranging from 1.6 to 120 ppm, amounts that significantly exceed industry recommendations of one ppm. All of these toxins are considered dangerous skin allergens.
- One paint in particular, Snazaroo Face Paint, which was labeled both "non-toxic" and "hypoallergenic," contained among the highest levels of lead and other heavy metals of those studied.
According to Phil Landrigan, M.D., director of the Children's Environmental Health Center Mount Sinai School of Medicine said, "Lead is dangerous to the developing brains of children at any level. It is now widely accepted in the scientific community that there is no threshold level below which lead is safe," quoted ENS.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) urges parents to keep children away from cosmetics containing lead. "Nickel, cobalt and chromium are top allergens in children. To have these contaminants in face paints is concerning because early-life exposures increase the chance that kids will have lifelong sensitization and develop contact dermatitis on the face," said Bruce Brod, M.D., clinical associate professor of dermatology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, quoted ENS.
The FDA offers the following Website with information on paint safety at: http://www.fda.gov/Cosmetics/ProductandIngredientSafety/ProductInformation/ucm143055.htm and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics’ report “Pretty Scary” can be accessed at http://www.safecosmetics.org/downloads/PrettyScary_Oct2709.pdf.