Beware! The Dangers Of Lead In Halloween Face Paints

Author: Dr. Gary Huber, DO

Date: Oct, 2009

While it may seem fun, Halloween face paint could come with a hefty price.

What kid hasn't enjoyed the fun of painting your face at Halloween? That is some prime time fun. But beware to all parents out there, the greatest danger your child faces may occur before he ever leaves your home. I’m speaking of the danger of lead exposure in face paints used by children at Halloween.  Now this is scary stuff that every parent should be aware of.  Did you know that the FDA does not routinely test cosmetic products and does not even have the authority to force companies to test their products for safety and they are not required to list any heavy metals such as lead or mercury or any harmful contaminants that may be contained.  This applies to cosmetics of all kinds including the popular “face paints” that kids use at Halloween.

Here is an excerpt from a recent article:

The Campaign sent 10 face paint products, including products marketed as theater face paint, to Analytical Sciences, an independent lab based in Petaluma, California, to test for a range of harmful metals. The results were mixed. Fortunately, we did not find mercury or arsenic, which were found in Canadian testing.  But we did find that all the products were contaminated with low levels of lead, which can harm children’s developing brains. Six of  the products were contaminated with nickel, cobalt and/or chromium which can cause lifelong skin problems. Many of the products contained two, three or even all four of these metals.

Findings include:

  • All 10 products contained lead, ranging from .054 to 0.65 parts per million.
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and many other experts agree that lead exposure is not safe at any level, and exposure to lead adds up in the body. Lead primarily enters the body through ingestion or inhalation. There is limited evidence that lead can be absorbed through the skin, though this is less understood than other routes of exposure.
  • Lead exposures during prenatal development, infancy and childhood can cause attention deficits, hyperactivity, impulsive behavior, IQ deficits, reduced school performance, aggression and delinquent behavior.
  • Lead is banned from cosmetics in Canada and Europe. It is legal for cosmetics sold in the U.S. to contain lead in any amount.

Lead – Harms Children’s Brains Even at Very Low Levels

The article lists the 10 companies they tested and what each contained so if you plan to use face paint in your child’s Halloween costume then please check the body of this article to see if your chosen face paint is one that contains lead.

Happy Trick Or Treating!