I hate to be the ogre in your Halloween festivities, but this week’s newsletter from The Center for Health, Environment and Justice has a scary Halloween warning: Check the ingredients on the face paint you’re using to transform your kids and grandkids into zombies, witches and other characters. Many face paints contain lead. Those masks made of PVC plastic may also be spreading harmful substances on kids’ vulnerable skin.
A new report released by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics found heavy metals present in Halloween face paint often used on children. Lead, a powerful neurotoxin, was found in every face paint product the Campaign tested. Many of the products also contained nickel, cobalt and chromium, potent allergens that can cause lifelong skin problems.
Additionally, many Halloween masks and costumes are sometimes made out of PVC, the poison plastic which can leach harmful gender-bending phthalates. In recent years, a growing body of scientific evidence has found that toxic chemicals released by the PVC lifecycle are trespassing into our bodies—phthalates are highest in children ages 6 to 11. When shopping for Halloween masks and costumes, look for those labeled “PVC-free” and if you are not sure, ask the store clerk or manufacturer whether the mask or costume is made out of PVC or vinyl.
We can still have fun celebrating Halloween with our friends and families, but we should know whether the products we use are safe.