Face painting is supposed to be safer for your child than wearing a mask for Halloween. Or is it?
As long as the face paint is non-toxic, then the answer is yes. After all, masks can be restricting, making it harder for children to see and to breathe.
But when it comes to many of the commercial face painting products available for children in the United States — well, you wouldn't believe what kind of unhealthy surprises are contained in some of them.
In October, 2015, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York held a press conference spotlighting toxins in Halloween makeup. Schumer challenged the FDA to be more restrictive in cosmetics and face paints that are allowed in to the United States, especially from China.
He referred to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics' 2009 report. "The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is a national coalition of nonprofit women’s, environmental, health, faith, consumer and worker safety organizations," according to their website.
All 10 of the most popular face paint products for children tested by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics had low levels of lead. Six also had known skin allergens cobalt, chromium and nickel. Some products had two or more of these. Even some labeled hypoallergenic had skin allergens.
The group wants the FDA to create more stringent regulations. At present, the FDA does not make companies report heavy metals or other toxins on labels. The FDA also does not require companies to do pre-market safety testing.
Lead exposure over long periods can result in negative effects like memory and behavior problems. High blood procedure, heart disease, decreased fertility, and kidney disease have also been linked. Children are even more vulnerable to these risks than adults.
Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a Boston dermatologist and Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, told CBS News that parents should not use these face paints on their children. Hirsh also reminded parents that infection can be spread when makeup is shared.