Toxic chemicals found in children’s Halloween makeup – study

© Carlo Allegri
Halloween is supposed to make your skin crawl, but not like this. A new study finds the scariest part of the holiday may not be the costumes, but makeup for kids. Out of 48 makeup palettes, almost half contained toxic heavy metals.

Nearly 20 percent of makeup palettes contain lead and cadmium, according to the newly published study by the Breast Cancer Fund. The study found that some products contained as many as four metals, including arsenic and chromium.

Nine of the palettes were found to contain lead, a chemical that is unsafe at any level, for children particularly. Parents may have purchased and applied these products to their children unwittingly, as the makeup doesn’t have to list ingredients on their labels.

The BCF may have been among the first to test the palettes, as the FDA does not regulate this particular product.

"The FDA that regulates makeup does not have the power to require pre-market testing," Jen Coleman with the Oregon Environmental Council told KGW.

The cosmetic safety law enacted 75 years ago does not require testing even for products marketed to children. While the FDA cannot do anything about the problem, they have issued guidelines to avoiding “a rash, swollen eyelids, or other reaction” this Halloween.

The guidelines make no mention of potential heavy metal poisoning, but they do offer advice like “Follow all directions carefully,” and “Don't decorate your face with things that aren't intended for your skin.

What’s a parent to do in the meantime? Other than use all-natural makeup, the best option is to avoid dark pigments. The BCF study found a correlation between the darkness of the color and the lead content. The darker the color, the more lead it was found to contain.