A Message from President Amy Winslow, Lead Could be a Spooky Addition this Halloween

10/20/2015

If your house is like mine, Halloween consumes the month of October. child-678335_1920-(3).jpgEvery year the discussion regarding costumes seems to arrive earlier and earlier. As my children get older, the costumes get more elaborate and now, group costumes with friends are popular. As the costumes get more complex, and as our family’s schedule gets busier, the appeal of a store bought costume increases.  Few parents think that a Halloween costume could present a toxic risk, but sadly, some of these costumes can be dangerous, particularly for young children who are more likely to chew or mouth that adorable pumpkin suit.

In 2014, a project from the Ecology Center called HealthyStuff.org released a study of 106 Halloween products, including costumes, accessories, decorations and party favors. The study showed that lead and other harmful chemicals such as phthalates and flame-retardants were common in products from all of these categories.

Your child might not end up chewing on his or her costume, but face paint can easily unintentionally end up in a child’s mouth. In 2009, the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics released a study of 10 different face paints that had been evaluated by an independent lab. All 10 contained lead, with levels ranging from 0.054 ppm (parts per million) to 0.65 ppm. While these are below the 100 ppm federal allowable limit for children’s products, they present more of a danger if they’re ingested – the allowable lead level for candy that might be consumed by a young child is just 0.1ppm.

Earlier this week, Senator Shumer from New York encouraged the FDA to be more stringent when testing cosmetics, particularly children’s face paint. "Every Halloween we worry about the candy we're putting in our kids' mouths but nowadays, we need to worry about the face paint we're putting on our kids' faces," the senator said.  In the mean time, blisstree.com has compiled a great list of lead-free face paints so your child doesn’t have to sacrifice his or her costume, and you don’t have to sacrifice their health.

The products featured in the HealthyStuff.org and Campaign for Safe Cosmetics studies were manufactured in many different countries (including the United States) by a variety of companies, and were purchased in different locations. It’s important to be aware of these issues so that you can make the right decisions about your purchases, not just at Halloween, but throughout the year.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is October 25-31. At Magellan we are focused on getting the word out, not just about the dangers of lead, but how prevalent it still is. When we speak with families affected by lead poisoning, most were aware, to varying degrees, that lead is harmful. They wished that they had known that it was still a problem.

I encourage you to check our site often for lead updates, and invite you to visit our Facebook page, LeadCare II – Lead Awareness. Help us spread the word, to get the lead out!

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