Pretty Scary: Heavy Metals in Face Paints
October 27th, 2009
A new report by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, "Pretty Scary," reveals that some children’s face paints contain lead, a neurotoxin, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which can cause lifelong skin sensitization and contact dermatitis. (Click here to download the report.)
Creepier yet, these metals were not listed on the products' ingredient labels. Some products even bore misleading claims (like "hypoallergenic" and “FDA compliant”), making it tough for parents to find safe face paints.
While this is particularly concerning for parents at this time of year, these products are used year-round at festivals and during dress-up. What’s more, everyday cosmetics suffer from the same lack of safety standards in the U.S.
What We Found
For this report, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics sent 10 children's face paints to an independent lab to test for heavy metals. Among our findings:
Experts say there is no safe level of lead exposure for children and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that parents avoid using cosmetics on their children that could be contaminated with lead.
Lead exposures early in life can lead to hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, IQ deficits, reduced school performance, aggression and delinquent behavior. It can also impact fertility, including increasing risk for miscarriage and reducing sperm quality. Early-life lead exposure can even increase risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Nickel, chromium, and cobalt can trigger skin rashes that appear throughout life with subsequent exposures.
Dressing up for Halloween (or dressing up for a night on the town) should be fun, and face paint and everyday cosmetics should not pose a threat to our health. If you agree, sign our Petition for Safe Cosmetics.
Download the report, "Pretty Scary"