Mom Detective: The Scary Truth About Halloween Face Paint

BY ON October 25, 2016

Kids wearing Halloween costumes that feature face paint
The weeks leading up to Halloween in our house are always filled with excitement. Between setting up the Halloween decorations and selecting a favorite costume, our days are packed with Halloween fun. As much as I encourage everyone to commit to a Halloween costume well in advance, there’s no avoiding those last-minute trips to the store to complete their vision.

As parents, our children’s safety comes first. While it’s a time for spooky fun and trick-or-treating. It’s also a time to take precautions to ensure every child is protected. From toxic chemicals found in some store bought costumes to toxic ingredients in Halloween candy, the list of Halloween safety concerns continues to grow.

As if that wasn’t enough, Halloween just became more frightening.

We all know that some of the most amazing Halloween costumes require a side order of face paint to complete the look. A new report from the Breast Cancer Fund’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, “Pretty Scary 2: Unmasking Toxic Chemicals in Kids’ Makeup”, warns parents to avoid face paints because they can be contaminated by heavy metals including lead and cadmium.

Given that skin is your body’s largest organ, it’s frightening to learn that face paints can contain dangerous chemicals. This report also found toxic chemicals in other cosmetic products marketed to children including shampoos, lip balms, makeup, and nail products. Parents can’t help but wonder what the effects of these toxicants in face paint and other cosmetics are on children’s developing immune systems. It’s been found that a lifetime of exposure to these heavy metals can increase our risk of getting cancer and other diseases. According to the report, lead causes altered brain development and learning disabilities in children while cadmium disrupts the body’s hormones and is linked to breast, kidney, lung and prostate cancer.

It’s hard to imagine how these harmful chemicals are showing up on the shelves in our stores in these products marketed to children. As it turns out, cosmetics (including face paints) are one of the least regulated consumer products on the market today.

In 1938, a law regulating cosmetics was passed by Congress. The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of chemicals used in cosmetics and personal care products since that law. In June of 2016, we had a glimmer of hope that face paints and other cosmetics would receive some regulation when the Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act was passed. Unfortunately, this new law doesn’t apply to cosmetics and continues to leave face paints completely unregulated.

Parents shouldn’t have to become experts or chemists to find safe face paints for their kids!

3 Things You Can Do to Avoid Toxic Chemicals in Face Paints (Tweet this) 

  1. Read labels
    Take the time to read the labels on any products before use. If you come across the terms “fragrance” (often a composite of dozens of undisclosed chemicals) and parabens try to avoid those products. If you are unsure of any ingredients spend some time educating yourself on its safety.
  2. Demand more regulation
    Label reading isn’t enough. Many of the heavy metals found in face paints are not listed on labels. We need to advocate for more meaningful legislation to effectively regulate the growing cosmetic industry and keep our children, and ourselves, safe.
  3. Use face paint alternatives
    Don’t purchase face paints that could contain harmful chemicals. Take the time to make your own face paints this Halloween! HERE‘s a great recipe that requires only 4 ingredients.

Toxic chemicals don’t belong in children’s’ face paint, lip balm and makeup. Given the growing connection between childhood exposure and cancer, children’s health and safety need to be a priority.


TOPICS: Mom Detective, Toxics