- Ireland's Online Resource for Parents & Teachers

Parenting & Education in Ireland

High levels of lead found in kid’s face make-up

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 28/10/2014. High levels of lead found in kid’s face make-upTags: Parenting

The National Poison Centre in Dublin is warning parents to check the ingredients of children’s Halloween make-up for traces of lead and to be vigilant when buying products from outside EU.

During Halloween lots of kids will be looking forward to dressing-up in scary costumes and having their faces and body painted in what might be seen as ‘safe’ or ‘non-toxic’ body and face make-up.

However, because of the huge popularity around Halloween for paint products, retailers are buying products from a variety of sources and high levels of lead have been found in some cosmetics in the last number of years.

The Irish Medicines Board advises parents to use a common sense approach regarding the safety and authenticity of these products before purchasing.

According to their website, here are a few tips to help you buy non-toxic face paints:

  • Buy from a reputable source where the product can be traced to a supplier.
  • Check the country of origin of the product; historically, children’s cosmetics manufactured in China are at most risk for lead contamination.
  • Check for a European manufacturing name or address; the absence of an EU address may be an indicator that the product has been imported from outside the EU and does not meet European requirements for safety assessment.
  • Check if any warnings are listed on the packaging advising not to use the product on children.
  • Follow all directions for use carefully. Face paints can sometimes irritate the skin if used incorrectly.
  • The absence of lead or lead related compounds (e.g. lead oxide) from the ingredient list does not necessarily mean that the product is free from lead.

    If the product raises any suspicions don’t buy it.

    Fancy dress:
    Fake blood and nail polishes are also used to enhance Halloween costumes. These products are low in toxicity and if swallowed accidentally should cause little more than mild tummy upset.
    Exposure to nail polish remover, however, can be serious. If your child has swallowed this product contact your GP or nearest emergency department.

    Glowsticks and luminous necklaces are low in toxicity if swallowed. They may, however, be irritating to the eyes and skin. Wash the eyes and skin thoroughly if there is contact and go to your local doctor.
    Remember, decorations such as plastic spiders, the barn brack ring, other costume jewellery and balloons all pose choking hazards or obstruction risks. Please make sure you keep small items like these out of reach of young children.

    Halloween Parties for Adults:
    Make sure alcohol and cigarette butts are cleaned up after any get-togethers to prevent poisoning in small children.


    For more on Halloween and children and pet safety, please see our dedicated Halloween section.


    No documents found

    Submit a comment

    Please respect the terms of use of our discussion boards. Full terms here .
    Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. When you submit your comment, you'll be sent a link to confirm it.
    Name Email