Spiders and ghosties and goblins may not be the scariest things you encounter this Halloween—your kids' superhero mask, princess costume and face paints could be more terrifying because of the toxic chemicals they contain. Here are 3 chemicals to watch out for when trick-or-treating this year.
- PVC: Polyvinyl chloride is often calld the "poison plastic" because of the harmful chemicals it contains. It poses a range of environmental and health problems throughout its life, from production to use to disposal. Plus, these chemicals can often offgas into the air—that "plastic" smell you notice when you open the package of your new costume.
Avoid it: by making your own homemade costumes without vinyl materials or by choosing second-hand costumes.
- Pthalates: These chemicals, used to soften stiff plastics, are endocrine disrupters and particularly dangerous for children. Although they have been banned in children's toys, many costumes still contain them.
Avoid it: by avoiding costumes and masks made of plastic.
- Lead and Cadmium: These heavy metals are known neurotoxins and can be very dangerous for children, even in small amounts. Plus, these heavy metals stay in children's systems for a long period of time. A lot of cheap costume jewelery, like the kind that comes with Halloween costumes, contains lead and cadmium. Plus, tests by the Ecology Center found that 100 percent of the face paints tested contained lead.
Avoid it: Don't let young children wear or play with costume jewelery and make your own face paints.
All in all, making your own costumes is by far the safest option, whether you sew something fabulous, or create it from closet and thrift-store finds. Plus, there won't be any other kids on the block with the same cool costume!
Image by MyTudut