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Halloween face paint could be toxic for kids

Posted: October 27, 2009 7:57 p.m.
Updated: October 28, 2009 2:00 p.m.
 
SAN FRANCISCO -- Ghosts and goblins aren't the only spooky things lurking around this Halloween. A new report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics reveals that popular children's face paints contain lead, a potent neurotoxin, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause lifelong skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.

Creepier yet, these metals were not listed on any of the product labels, so parents have no way of knowing what children are really putting on their faces.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, a national coalition of nonprofit health groups, sent 10 children's face paints to an independent lab to test for heavy metals, and also reviewed ingredient labels of Halloween products sold at a seasonal holiday store. The findings, compiled in the report Pretty Scary, include:

-- Ten out of 10 children's face paints contained lead ranging from 0.05 to 0.65 parts per million (ppm). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that parents avoid using cosmetics on their children that could be contaminated with lead.

-- Six out of 10 children's face paints contained nickel, cobalt and/or chromium, which are top allergens in children. The metals were found at levels ranging from 1.6 to 120 ppm - many of them far exceeding industry safety recommendations of 1 ppm.

-- Snazaroo Face Paint, labeled as "non-toxic" and "hypoallergenic," contained some of the highest levels of lead, nickel and cobalt found in the study.

"Parents should not have to worry that face paint contains lead and other hazardous substances, and they have a right to know what's in these products. Clearly, companies are not making the safest products possible for children, even though kids are particularly vulnerable to toxic exposures," said Lisa Archer, national coordinator of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics at the Breast Cancer Fund.

"Lead and other hazardous chemicals have no place in face paints kids use for dress-up and play on Halloween or any other day of the year," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.). "Strengthening our cosmetics laws and providing ample resources are essential to ensure the FDA has the authority and tools it needs to protect the health of our children from chemicals in cosmetics."

 

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