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Posts Tagged ‘lead poisoning’

The Scariest Thing About Halloween Might Be In You Kids’ Makeup

Friday, October 25th, 2013

This post was previously published on HUFFPOST PARENTS

Lead is a known carcinogen and a powerful neurotoxin that can affect nearly every organ in the body. Scientists generally agree that there is NO safe level of lead in children. And yet lead, regardless of the level, is found in makeup around the country. Even in makeup intended for kids. Halloween can be an opportunity for toxic mayhem OR it can be an opportunity to learn, educate and buy carefully.

Lead poisoning, according to the CDC, is entirely preventable. Most people aren’t aware of the ways in which lead can make its way into our bodies. But, because of their rapid development, children age 1-6 are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure. While many parents may be aware of the primary sources of lead exposure (from household paint and dust) there are numerous other paths of exposure and makeup is a critical one. Since we absorb as much as 80 percent of what goes on our skin, the precautionary principal tells us it’s not smart to coat ourselves with things containing lead.

And yet… that is often exactly what’s happening. A recent study found that 66 percent of the top brands of lipstick sold in the U.S. contain lead, not to mention other toxic metals like cadmium, aluminum, and nickel as well. Because of the fact that the cosmetics industry is not regulated by the FDA, there are no laws based on levels that are safe for makeup. (Although I’d advocate that there is NO safe level of lead in any makeup.) Furthermore, you won’t find these ingredients listed on the package, as the FDA doesn’t mandate disclosure on heavy metals, which makes it even trickier to find something safe.

Lead in lipstick has been a known issue for years and the FDA continues to do periodic tests which only show more lead in lipstick (see FDA chart with names of brands listed) but still there’s no regulation.

Perhaps even more alarming is the fact that The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics has found that 10 out of 10 kids’ Halloween makeup tested positive for lead. That doesn’t mean that every single makeup on the market contains lead but many, even perhaps most, will. As a mom, it’s not a gamble I want to take.

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics: At least a million children in the U.S. exceed the currently accepted threshold for blood lead level exposure that affects behavior and cognition. Lead is banned from makeup in both Canada and Europe but it’s allowed AT ANY LEVEL in makeup in the U.S.

While the only way you’ll truly know if your makeup is free of toxins is to have it examined under the microscope, there are things you can do to be careful.

You can’t trust labels of “non-toxic,” “safe,” or “hypo-allergenic” — and in fairness some companies may not even know if they have heavy metals in their makeup because it would mean they would have had to specifically test their raw ingredients, according to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics. But many types of “mineral” makeup can be contaminated with heavy metals, as are often other makeup that is mixed with cheap ingredients.

While perhaps the very safest way of making sure your child isn’t exposed to lead or other irritants and allergens this year is to avoid face paint altogether, you can also 1.) use make up that participates in the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, 2.) look for how makeup rates on the EWG score, and 3.) is made by a producer you can trust, who is very consciously deciding what ingredients to use and where to source them.

But lead dangers don’t stop at makeup. There are a lot of Halloween items that can be tainted with lead. Education is the best way to protect your kids from harm this Halloween and in the years to come.

By Amy Ziff

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For more information on product ingredients visit,, or Twitter @veritey

Lead Poisoning Threshold Lowered by CDC

Friday, June 22nd, 2012

by Wendy

The US Center for Disease Control recently made an announced the lowered the set lead poisoning threshold by half, making the number of cases of children under the age of 6 at risk to rise almost 6 times the previous average, from 77,000 to 442,000 cases.

Lead poisoning is toxic to everyone and no level of lead in your system is safe. It harms tissues and organs, such as the heart, bones, intestines, kidneys, reproductive and nervous systems. Since lead poisoning also interferes with the development of the nervous system, it is especially toxic to children and can cause potential learning and behavior disabilities. Unsafe levels of lead in your blood can cause symptoms that range from headaches, stomach pains, anemia, confusion and irritability.

Let’s work to keep our children safe. Here are a few tips on how to remove and prevent any potential exposure of lead in your home environment:

Repair Chipped and Peeling Paint and Vacuum Frequently – paint, especially from older homes, can flack off, get into the air and settle on toys and other surfaces, such as carpet, tabletops and windowsills

Eliminate Lead-Containing Objects – such as bowls sealed with lead paint, some blinds, toys and jewelry that have stained glass, ink, paint, and plaster

Keeping Kids Hands Clean - wash their hands frequently and discourage them from putting them in their mouth to avoid picking up bacteria and other contaminates on the ground or on common surfaces

Increase Intake of Calcium and Iron – good nutrition can help reduce the amount of lead that’s absorbed in a child’s body

Run the Faucets in the Morning – helps to flush out the most contaminated water from old lead pipes

Use Only Cold Water from the Faucets – hot water contains higher amounts of lead than cold water


What are some other tips that can help prevent lead poisoning?


Wendy Yu is a digital marketing professional living in New York City. When she’s not using the power of social media to share ideas on how to be more environmentally friendly, she is exploring the city, trying local foods, and learning more about how she can reduce her carbon footprint.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Green Halloween® or our partners.