October 29, 2011
Ghouls and goblins may be spooky, but what should really give you the creeps this Halloween is the decorative makeup you might be putting on your face. New evidence from the nonprofit Ecology Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan shows many novelty face paints used for Halloween are tainted with toxic heavy metals like cadmium and lead.
Your Halloween Costume May be Hazardous to Your Health
Researchers at the Ecology Center tested 31 types of novelty makeup you can find on the shelves of big name outlets and party stores all over the country. Every single product contained traces of some kind of metal, but that is just the beginning. More than half of the products contained cadmium, a toxic heavy metal linked to cancer, birth defects and brain damage. Other toxic metals like mercury and lead were also detected.
Even more disturbing is the popularity of these products with children. Kids dressing up as comical clowns and blood-sucking vampires routinely have their faces painted to match, but dress-up can turn ugly if toxic metals are involved. Children are especially at risk because their growing bodies and developing brains are more vulnerable to toxins like heavy metals. The health campaign director of the Ecology Center says parents should err on the side of caution until we know more about what levels of these metals are safe or unsafe for our children.
Representatives of some of the manufacturers insist their products have been tested to ensure legal levels of heavy metals, but health advocates say legal levels for topical products may be far too high. Not enough testing has been done to determine how much of these products are absorbed through the skin. Our skin is highly permeable, and putting these toxic metals on our skin may be no more safe than putting them straight into our mouths.
This Halloween the wise choice would be to avoid commercial makeup by either making your own at home or simply going without. When it comes to your health and that of your children, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
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