03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Scary Stuff: Children's Halloween Face Paints May Contain Lead

Before you paint your kids’ faces for Halloween, you might want to think twice. A new Campaign for Safe Cosmetics report
reveals that some children’s face paints contain heavy metals such as
lead, nickel and cobalt that can cause lifelong skin sensitization and
contact dermatitis. You won’t find any mention of these metals on the
products’ ingredients labels—which might even claim the products are
“hypoallergenic” and “FDA compliant.” 

halloween face paint

Keep your kids safe this Halloween. Avoid face paints that may contain heavy metals. 

Photo By plasticrevovler/Courtesy Flickr


Campaign for Safe Cosmetics had an independent lab test 10 children’s
face paints for heavy metals. All 10 products contained traces of lead,
ranging from 0.05 to 0.65 parts per million. Experts say there’s no
safe level of lead exposure for children and have linked early exposure
to reduced school performance, delinquent behavior, aggression and even
increased risk for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. 

out of ten face paints also contained nickel, cobalt and chromium,
ranging in levels from 1.6 to 120 parts per million. Industry safety
recommendations for these materials, which can trigger lifelong skin
rashes, is only 1 part per million. 

Scary stuff, but it’s easy enough to avoid this problem. For a greener Halloween, choose costumes for your children that don’t involve face paint, or create your own face paint using natural ingredients and one of these recipes from the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics.