The autumn air getting crisper, hoodies and sweaters coming out of storage, and leaves changing colors to red and gold mean Halloween – most kids’ favorite fall holiday – is almost here.
Children are excited about their upcoming round of trick-or-treating: choosing the perfect costume and mapping out the areas with the best candy. Parents are probably excited, too. But while moms and dads are thinking of inconspicuous ways to steal a piece of candy or two from their children’s treats, they are also wanting to ensure the holiday celebration is safe and healthy.
A lot of Halloween dangers are old news to parents. As kids, our parents checked our candy to be sure it was safe. More recently, communities have started shifting trick-or-treat times to daylight hours for increased safety. Most notably for many, makeup and face paint have replaced sight-obscuring masks as the method of choice for transforming your tyke or tween into someone or something else for one night.
You might be surprised to learn that many face paints sold in stores this time of year also can be dangerous for your family’s health. In fact, a new study from the Breast Cancer Fund’s Campaign for Safe Cosmetics revealed that an alarming number of cosmetic products marketed to children, including makeup and face paints, contain significant amounts of toxic chemicals. It’s important to do your research to make sure you are purchasing paraben-free and natural makeup that is safe for children.
The Breast Cancer Fund study tested a variety of cosmetics marketed to children, including shampoos, lip balms, and nail products, plus makeup and face paint. The researchers purchased the products they examined at stores where families commonly shop, including Target, Toys R Us, Family Dollar, Dollar Tree, and Dollar General, as well as Claire’s and Justice — two stores that market mainly to tweens and younger teens.
The researchers examined the labels of the products and discovered that most of them listed a variety of toxic chemicals. They sent 48 different Halloween face paints to an independent lab for further testing, and found that 21 of those kits contained trace amounts of at least one heavy metal – ingredients such as mercury, lead, and arsenic. On top of that, they discovered at least four likely carcinogens (ingredients known to cause cancer) contained in a significant number of products: toluene, styrene, ethylbenzene, and vinyl acetate.
Talk about a Halloween scare.
Fortunately, there are safer alternatives available, so you don’t need to sacrifice your family’s health and safety to participate in Halloween dress-up fun. In light of concerns about toxic chemicals like the ones listed above, some companies have started creating safer, nontoxic face paints for children. It’s now easier than ever to find paraben-free face makeup, natural makeup, and makeup made in the USA, such as Natural Face Paint from Natural Earth Paint and Pretendi Naturali from Luna Star Naturals.
It’s alarming to discover that manufacturers are still putting the almighty dollar above the health and safety of our kids. Luckily, there are companies out there who are willing do the right thing by creating natural makeup kids can enjoy without parents worrying about health consequences down the road. Vote with your wallets!