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Parents warned of potentially poisonous Halloween facepaints

The Irish Medicines Board and the HSE warn parents to be aware of some facepaints with high lead content.

Image: tanya_little via Flickr

IRISH PARENTS have been urged to buy Halloween facepaints from reputable sources, after concerns that some brands of paint contain high levels of lead.

The Irish Medicines Board and the HSE have told parents to review the ingredients of any facepaints they buy for their children, after finding high levels of the potentially poisonous metal in some brands of paint in recent years.

A surveillance programme by the bodies has found that while the prevalence of children’s cosmetics with high lead content has declined in recent years, exposure to lead remains a credible risk.

Hyperactivity, impulsive and aggressive behaviour are among some of the toxic effects that can be caused by excessive exposure to lead content.

Parents have been given a list of measures they can take to minimise that risk:

  • Buy the facepaint from a reputable source, where the product can be traced to a supplier
  • Check the product’s country of origin of the product – the IMB says cosmetics manufactured in China have historically shown the greatest risk of lead contamination
  • Check for a European manufacturing name or address – if not present, the product may have been imported from outside the EU and is therefore not in line with European safety requirements
  • Check if any warnings are listed on the packaging advising that the product not be used on children
  • Follow all directions for use carefully

The board says that some lead may be present in the facepaints, even if it does not appear on the ingredients list.

The IMB’s cosmetic compliance manager Lorraine Nolan said the downward trend in lead presence was good news for parents, but that they still needed to be aware of the dangers posed by potential lead poisoning.

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Gavan Reilly

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