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5 Toxic Exposures You Need To Know About This Halloween

Getting ready for a halloween party or night of trick or treating with the kids or grandkids? The ghoulish evening of fright with thousands of different costumes, accessories, decorations and party favors also bring with them chemicals linked to asthma, birth defects, learning disabilities, reproductive problems, liver toxicity and cancer. Here's what to look out for.

After dozens of costumes and accessories were tested, chemicals found included lead, bromine from flame retardants, chlorine from vinyl or PVC plastic, phthalates, arsenic, tin, lead, chromium, cadmium and mercury. The products were purchased from such retailers as CVS, Kroger, Target, Walmart, Walgreens and Party City.

"We don't want to frighten consumers, but we do think there's a public health concern," Rebecca Meuninck, environmental health campaign director stated. "These [substances] don't need to be in these products. There are safer alternatives. And there were products that didn't have any hazards." The results:

  • Almost one-third contained antimony.
  • 33 contained vinyl.
  • Ten, mostly decorations and party accessories, contained bromine.
  • Five had high levels of lead, and seven had lower lead levels.
  • Two contained high levels of phthalates that were recently banned in children's products.

Some substances -- like the heavy metals lead, chromium, and cadmium -- act as neurotoxins and are unsafe at any dosage. Others -- like some flame retardants that Meuninck said have been linked to certain cancers and neurotoxicity -- fall off products as dust and build up in people's systems over time. They appear in many household products -- such as as carpeting and televisions -- and can take longer to exhibit effects.

Meuninck says that having potentially harmful chemicals in bags that hold candy or items that children can play with is an unwarranted risk.


1) Halloween Face Paint

Halloween costume make-up is suggested as a good alternative to masks for kids that will intensely be walking the streets trick-or-treating, since masks could obscure vision.

However, Halloween face paint could have dangerous ingredients (like lead and mercury) if made with chemical ingredients; it can trigger responses in those who react to particular toxins; and it can induce reactions if put on specific parts of the body.

Here are some straightforward guidelines to protect yourself:.

i. Don't enhance your face with items, paints, and colourings that aren't planned for your skin (and look into The Daily Environment-friendly's 14 beloved homemade Halloween costumes for grownups and children).

ii. Before using brand-new Halloween costume make-up, try a basic patch test, especially if you or your child is prone to allergic reactions, a few days prior to Halloween.

iii. Review ingredient checklists and don't buy any type of item that has fluorescent colors. You can determine fluorescent colorings by trying to find the following ingredients:.

D&C Orange No. 5, No. 10, and No. 11.
D&C Red No. 21, No. 22, No. 27 and No. 28.
D&C Yellow No. 7.

iv. Do not utilize luminous (glow-in-the-dark) shades (like zinc sulfide) near eyes.

Utilise items that have Paraben/Phthalates/PCB-free active ingredients whenever possible. Parabens and phthalates are found in the ingredient list of an item, while PCBs can be located in the plastic of the item's container.

v. Wash extensively (and follow guidelines) as soon as trick-or-treating or the event is over. Do not go to sleep with Halloween outfit makeup on your skin.

2) Hair Colouring and Allergies.

Allergies to hair dye is increasing in many countries. The culprit is para-phenylenediamine (PPD) and its relatives in a chemical family called aromatic amines, the pillar of hair dyes for greater than a century.

Allergic response to PPD is well-documented, causing dermatitis on the face or around the hairline, however in many cases the reaction is so intense that the victim's face swells up and creates uncomfortable bruising, needing medical attention.

Avoid contact with chemicals that include PPD as an active ingredient. If feasible, review ingredients to make sure they don't contain PPD and read through all item tags.

Steer clear of make-up with PPD. Avoid peeling oranges-- an organic product that usually contains PPD-- and ask for a friend or family member to do it for you.

3) Lead Contamination in Toys.

Paint utilized to cover Halloween sweet containers and even fake teeth could be contaminated with lead, according to a 2008 study in the journal Science of the Total Environment. The research tested 95 seasonal or vacation products, many of which had a Halloween or Easter style. Twelve of the products were found to contain degrees of lead that were higher than U.S. regulation limit of 0.06 percent by weight.

Among the tainted products were sorcerer- and skull-shaped sweet pails, a Monster drinking cup, and yes, fake teeth. The so-called "ugly teeth" were repainted orange and contained levels of lead in excess of 6 percent, the specialists pointed out. Since this item might wind up in a youngster's mouth, the findings are a source for worry, they said. Lead is a neurotoxin.

4) Glow Stick "Poisoning".

Calls to poison control centers mentioning glow stick "poisoning" show increases during Halloween. A 2009 research of calls to a New Jersey poisonous substance control center found there were 139 phone calls connected to glow stick items in between 2002 and 2007, and the day with greatest lot of telephone calls, 59, was Halloween 2007.

5) Candy Is Not Food

Bear in mind that candy in general is full of sugar, glucose, fructose and all kind of sugars that are not especially helpful for any person's health and wellness. A lot of brand names of candy are outright toxic.

If you actually desire little ones to take pleasure in Halloween, let them have a good trick or treating, but once they get home you might have to toss out about 90 percent of what they accumulate. Alternatively, your own healthy and balanced natural chocolate and sweets made with organic active ingredients will work. For example, try to find rice glucose, tapioca syrup, acerola berry, black current, carrots and pumpkin. These components are commonly found in many organic candies and they have more dietary benefits compared to any sort of typical halloween sweets.

Happy trick or treating. Be safe. Be healthy. But most of all have fun.

Karen Foster is a holistic nutritionist, avid blogger, with five kids and an active lifestyle that keeps her in pursuit of the healthiest path towards a life of balance.

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