Report Reveals Scary Info About Popular Kids' Facepaint & Makeup -- Just in Time for Halloween

little girl with Halloween makeup

Among the scary things happening on Halloween, your child's makeup should not be one of them. But a new report from the Breast Cancer Fund and its Campaign for Safe Cosmetics suggests parents have many reasons to be spooked.

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Researchers read labels AND conducted their own tests, and what they found is really disturbing. The report -- Pretty Scary 2: Unmasking Toxic Chemicals in Kids' Makeup -- shares the frightening statistic that about half of the makeup out there specifically marketed to children (for Halloween and otherwise) includes toxins that cause hormone disruption, developmental delays, learning difficulties, and/or cancer.

According to the report, the ingredients in cosmetic products sold via the Internet -- which is obviously a major source of shopping for tweens, teen, and parents! -- do NOT have to be labeled. Doesn't that sound crazy? And, the report adds, "Kids are especially vulnerable to the effects of many exposures to these chemicals, particularly those linked to cancer, brain development and the hormone system."

Among the biggest toxins called out are:

Lead and Cadmium: There was lead in about 20 percent of the Halloween face paints researchers tested. There was cadmium in closer to 30. Lead exposure has been linked to learning disabilities and developmental problems; cadmium is linked to various cancers.

According to the researchers: "The strong association of lead with neurological and intellectual impairments has led the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to declare there is no safe blood level of lead."

Toluene: This was in about 11 percent of the products. It is a hormonally active, development and reproductive disrupter.

Parabens: Parabens disrupt the endocrine system. They were found in 34 percent of products.

Formaldehyde: Formaldehyde is a known human carcinogen and was found in three percent of the products.

Ethoxylated Ingredients: Just by reading labels, researchers found that about 28 percent of the products had these toxins that lead to breast cancer and other cancers: ethylene oxide and 1,4- dioxane.

Yikes.

Products called out as having dangerous chemical levels specifically include: Disney Frog Lip Gloss, Disney Frozen stick-on nails, Disney Princess Lip Gloss, Hershey's Reese's lip balm, Hershey's Bubble Gum lip balm, Minions nail polish in pink, the Killer Clown Makeup Kit, and more.

Of note: Flavored lip balms were found to be most likely to contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which means those these products may pose some of the highest dangers to kids. 

So what's a mom to do?

Parents beware and if it doesn't have a label, it's probably not safe to let your kids play with it or use it. Always know the ingredients in every cosmetic product you put on your child, especially given small children are particularly susceptible to these toxins with their developing immune systems.

The Breast Cancer Fund also offers these tips for choosing safe products for your kids:

1. Avoid items with "fragrance" (because "fragrance" isn't regulated!) and/or these Red List Chemicals.

2. Avoid use of darkly pigmented makeups (because those were found to have high concentrations of the dangerous heavy metals).

3. Use smartphone apps such as Think Dirty, Healthy Living, and Good Guide to check the safety of products

As if we needed another reason to fear clowns. Sigh. But at least we have the information to protect our kids, thanks to this report.

 

Image via atikinka/Shutterstock

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