The Breast Cancer Fund hired independent labs to test 48 Halloween face paints that were marketed for children. Researchers looked for heavy metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium, lead, and mercury.
Almost half of them — 21 products — tested positive for at least one heavy metal. Some contained up to four metals. The darker the color, the more likely it was to have high levels of heavy metals.
Lead was found in nearly 20% of Halloween face paints that were tested. Even in small amounts, lead is extremely toxic to children. It is associated with learning disabilities and developmental problems.
Nearly 30% of products tested positive for cadmium, a carcinogen linked to breast, kidney, lung, and prostate cancer. Cadmium pigments have been used for centuries in red, orange, and yellow paint.
According to the researchers:
“The presence of these chemicals marketed to children is of serious concern, since children are highly vulnerable to the effects of toxic chemicals.”
In 2009, the same organization tested 10 Halloween face paints for kids. All of them contained lead, and six products had high levels of allergens like nickel, cobalt, and chromium.
Last Halloween, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer (D) called out the FDA for not routinely testing cosmetics for hazardous chemicals, especially products imported from China.
The problem is that even if a cosmetic product contained nothing but lead, the FDA does not have the authority to order a recall. The FDA can only encourage companies to voluntarily recall contaminated products.
Source: Safe Cosmetics