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Toxins Make Halloween Face Paints Scary
Date:10/27/2009

Report finds all products tested contained lead and some had known skin allergens

TUESDAY, Oct. 27 (HealthDay News) -- If your little goblins or vampires are set to paint their faces this Halloween to look all the more believable, you may want to think twice, according to a new report released just in time for the holiday.

The report, issued by the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, is titled: Pretty Scary: Could Halloween Face Paint Cause Lifelong Health Problems? Researchers tested 10 face paint products, the types widely available via the Internet or in craft or Halloween stores.

"All 10 face paint products tested contained lead, and six out of 10 had known skin allergens, including nickel, cobalt or chromium, at levels above recommendations of industry studies," said Stacy Malkan, the campaign's co-founder and a co-author of the report. Malkan is also the author of Not Just a Pretty Face, a 2007 book detailing what she sees as the potentially hazardous ingredients in cosmetics.

For the new report, she said, "We looked for a range of heavy metals, and we didn't find mercury or arsenic. Other countries have found those in face paints. We did unfortunately find lead in all the products." Exposure to lead can cause developmental and behavioral problems, experts agree.

Then there were the labeling problems, with some products claiming to be hypoallergenic when they were not. One product "was advertised on the package as nontoxic and hypoallergenic, [and] had some of the highest levels of nickel, cobalt and lead," Malkan said.

The lead found ranged from 0.054 parts per million to 0.65 parts per million. Four of 10 products had nickel, ranging from 2.1 to 5.9 parts per million; two of 10 had cobalt, with levels from 4.8 to 5.5 parts per million. Five of 10 had chromium, ranging from 1.6 to 120 parts per million. According to the report, levels of each should not exceed 1 part per millio
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