Halloween is a fun time full of chills and thrills. But do you know what’s really scary? Many brands of Halloween makeup on the market today (including those sold specifically for use on children) contain lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics did a study on 10 popular brands (click here to see the full report, which lists the ten brands) in 2009. Here’s a sample of what they found:
::All 10 products contained lead, ranging from .054 parts per million (ppm) to .65 ppm.
::The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other experts agree that lead exposure is not safe at any level, and exposure to lead adds up in the body. Lead primarily enters the body through ingestion or inhalation. There is limited evidence that lead can be absorbed through the skin, though this is less understood than other routes of exposure.
::Lead exposures during prenatal development, infancy and childhood can cause attention deficits, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, IQ deficits, reduced school performance, aggression and delinquent behavior.
::Lead is banned from cosmetics in Canada and Europe. It is legal for cosmetics sold in the U.S. to contain lead in any amount.
And yet, recent studies have found lead in popular brands of women’s lipsticks. As unbelievable as it sounds, lead in cosmetics is still a danger. Label reading will not help, either. These products do not list the heavy metals in them, and many say “safe,” hypoallergenic,” and/or “FDA compliant.” None of these claims means you are safe from lead or other toxins.
Luckily, there are lots of options for concerned parents. Try making your own Halloween makeup. If you choose to buy Halloween makeup, check out Skin Deep for a “toxin rating” of different makeup brands. Also, stay away from those awful aerosol hair dyes! They are FULL of toxins both for you and the environment.
Here are a few more tips from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:
While all the products tested for this report contain lead, it does not mean that all face paints on the market contain lead. On the flip side, just because the products we analyzed did not test positive for mercury or arsenic does not mean we know for certain that face paints never contain mercury or arsenic, which were both found in a Canadian study. Unfortunately, this leaves parents in a difficult place when deciding how to help children dress up for Halloween. …Using costumes that do not include face paint may be the best option... Parents should urge their elected officials to ban harmful ingredients and contaminants from face paints and other cosmetics and enact comprehensive federal “safe cosmetics” legislation that gives the FDA the authority and resources it needs to regulate the cosmetics industry and ensure cosmetic safety.
Be safe this year and avoid those toxic makeups, both for yourself and your children.
This post was published on my other blog in 2009. This is the updated version.