We can all agree that there are few Halloween traditions more adorable than children getting their faces painted to look like spooky ghosts or fierce animals. However, a new report by the Breast Cancer Fund and the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has highlighted a dark reality behind kid’s face paint: it is often riddled with chemicals that most would not let their kids go near, let alone apply directly to their skin.
The report, titled “Pretty Scary 2: Unmasking toxic chemicals in kids’ makeup,” found that “the presence of these chemicals marketed to children is of serious concern, especially since children are highly vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals during critical windows of development.” For example, the study tested 48 chemicals for heavy metals such as arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead and mercury. They found that out of these, 21 (nearly half) had at least trace amounts of heavy metals, and that higher traces were found in darker pigmented face-paint products.
Not only is the report a must read for parents as they prepare for the Halloween season, the report also highlights the larger issue of toxins in consumer products. When it comes to whether or not these chemicals are being safely used, the burden of proof is on the public and not producers. The risk these chemicals pose to public health is serious and wide-spreading.
In Vermont, we have made progress by passing the Toxic Free Families Act (Act 188) that will provide consumers with information on the toxic chemicals used in products marketed to children under 12. It calls for the creation of a user friendly database that will allow Vermont consumers to easily identify which toxic chemicals are in their children’s products, including many of the face paint products mentioned in the report. Manufactures are required to report this data by January 1st and we will be posting this data as well as highlighting some of the most important findings. Keep checking back for more information about how you can avoid toxic chemicals in children’s products.