Halloween is only days away, and parents are helping kids decide what their kids’ costumes will be. Most moms know that face paint is a simple way to turn their children into just about anything they want to be. But New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says the Food and Drug Administration has not done enough to test “novelty makeup,” especially the paint manufactured in China, for dangerous chemicals.
Jessica Ivins of KSL 5-TV quoted Schumer:
“Every Halloween we worry about the candy we’re putting in our kids’ mouths, but nowadays, we need to worry about the face paint we’re putting on our kids’ faces,” Schumer said in a release. “Toxic Chinese chemicals in children’s Halloween makeup and face paint is a scary thought, and yet, often times, parents don’t even know what’s in these products.”
There is no routine FDA testing on face paint, but many paints include lead, nickel, cobalt, and chromium that could cause health problems for children. In fact, the CDC reports that even a small amount of lead leaked into the bloodstream has the potential to affect cognitive development and IQ, academic performance, and attention capabilities in kids.
Schumer is insisting that companies list every ingredient on the packaging of face paints and cosmetics of all kinds. Currently, lead is allowed to be included in makeup in the US. Dangerous allergens like cobalt, nickel, and chromium turned up, at a hazardous level, in six out of 10 face paints.
And parents should know that many products have labels stating “hypoallergenic” when skin allergens do appear in the makeup.
Schumer decided to do an experiment of his own, writes Diane Hoffman of New York City Today, and bought makeup from Rubie’s Costume Company, Wet N’ Wild Fantasy Makers, and Fun World. His point was that novelty makeup and face paint products can be easily purchased in stores countrywide. He added that this was proof that toxic chemicals are not only present in inexpensive brands of cosmetics and novelty products, but in mass market products as well.
Of the ten different face paints tested by the FDA, all ten products were contaminated with lead, and six of the face paints contained nickel, cobalt, and chromium. Schumer reiterated that parents should not buy face paint or novelty cosmetics manufactured in China.
“The analysis in the report was from 2009 but we have no reason to assume anything has changed,” Janet Nudelman, director of program and policy at the Breast Cancer Fund and co-founder of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, told CBS News in an email.
According to CBS News’ Ashley Welch, exposure to lead over time can result in behavioral and memory problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and reduced fertility, and that children are likely to be at a greater risk of harm than adults because of their developing brains and bodies.
There is a way to avoid chemicals altogether. The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics suggests making face paint at home. All you need is a base of unscented lotion or gentle toothpaste mixed with tints made from food coloring or colorful foods like blackberries, beets, or chocolate.