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Pictured (L to R): Sienna Maria Finn (4), Jack Dunne (5), Caoila Griffin (2) and Rían Griffin (4). Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Parents warned over harmful face paints ahead of Halloween

High levels of heavy metals have been found in some brands of children’s cosmetics.

PARENTS IN IRELAND have been warned to check the labelling on face paints to ensure they are safe to use and from a reputable manufacturer this Halloween.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) gave the warning today in light of the fact that one in five parents (21%) don’t read the product information before buying these products for their children.

The authority said parents need to be vigilant of the dangers posed by sub-standard face paints which, in the past, have been found to contain harmful substances.

High levels of heavy metals have been found in some brands of children’s cosmetics available in Europe in recent years and parents are warned to be aware that the standard of products available can vary.

The HPRA survey revealed 88% of parents allow their children to have their faces painted with half saying their kids wear paints up to five time a year.

However some 91% do not know to check for an EU address on the labelling before purchasing, a requirement in European law and considered by the HPRA to be the most important thing to look for.

To ensure children are not exposed to potentially harmful products, parents should:

  • Buy from a reputable source where the product can be traced to a supplier;
  • Check for an EU address on the product packaging; The absence of an EU address indicates that the product has been imported from outside the EU and may not meet European requirements for safety;
  • Check if any warnings are listed on the packaging advising not to use the product on children;
  • Follow all directions for use carefully as products can sometimes irritate the skin if used incorrectly.

Six out of ten parents are concerned with price when purchasing such products and the HPRA cautioned against the use of a product where the price appears inexplicably low.

“We are mindful there is an extensive range of face paint products available on the market coming from a wide variety of sources at hugely varying prices so this is a key thing to check,” commented Aoife Farrell, cosmetics compliance manager at the authority.

“Our concern stems from the fact that even very small levels of certain ingredients, which may be undeclared on the labelling, can cause harm and irritation to children’s skin.”

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