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The yearly halloween toxins overload

Halloween is just around the corner and the yearly issue of toxic materials and safety in the many holiday related products are at the forefront of some parents considerations. Unfortunately there are a number of exposures that should be considered before you purchase an outfit or other products for the holiday.


Unfortunately there are a ton of products that meet the FDA’s cosmetic regulations that are still not truly safe. What this means is that they by law can contain products that have endocrine disruptors to clear carcinogens, such as formaldehyde.  Many of the big name brands, sold every day, are among these that continue to use less than desirable ingredients.  For a quick view of some of the chemicals and companies click on the picture below.

Toxins , cosmetics, halloween

Once you see the long list of toxins don’t panic ! There are many good manufactures that are compliment and don’t use these ingredients in their formulations. One of the better sites to determine if the product is indeed safe can be found at the  Environmental Working Groups website.

Some parent’s have had enough of waiting for the FDA, EPA and other government agencies to protect our kids.  Long Island county has adopted tough regulations on toys containing hazardous materials which took effect Dec. 1, 2015. The   Suffolk County’s Toxic Free Toys Act regulates the content of various chemicals, including the usual toxins such as arsenic, lead and mercury, for any children’s toys sold in the county. The law empowers county officials to scan children’s toys using a non-destructive technology known as  X-ray fluorescence.  The county intends on doing random inspections of at least 10 retailers per quarter.  If the retailers are found to be non-compliant they will face civil penalties of $500 for first-time violations, and twice that for subsequent violations. They faced the usual court challenges from the industry and have now updated to new regulations as of 2017

Rockland, Suffolk and Westchester counties have had similar legislation however, the outcome of the industry court challenges has reduced the enforcement back to federal toxin levels and only Suffolk county has any tooth left. The American Apparel & Footwear Association filed the lawsuit along with their co-plaintiffs, the Halloween Industry Association, the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association and the Toy Industry Association. The basis of the complaints is that compliance with multiple laws is too burdensome to manufactures.

To get a sense of the changes the industry was able to force on the other counties they both dropped efforts to regulate cobalt, benzene and formaldehyde. Do you really think that not regulating the amount of known carcinogens,  such as benzene and formaldehyde, makes our costumes or kids safer ? Keep in mind that the regulations do not apply to used children’s products or apparel. So if your considering used products and costumes, use caution.

Fire Concerns:

You might notice as you purchase a costume that it will or hopefully not indicate the use of fire retardants. The use of fire retardants should be one of the first warnings that the product could be toxic. Most current fireproofing chemicals are considered toxic.  The good news is that you can fireproof natural products with a home made mix. If you’re considering doing it yourself an easy solution of simple available ingredients can be found on the Halloween Industry site, towards the bottom of the page. An example of a non-toxic water based  commercial product, not for use on costumes but rather on literally any other product can be found at: Dharmatrading


Would you knowingly make an exception and fill your gas tank with some water, because it’s a holiday. Don’t think so… Why feed your kids junk from the so called well meaning community ?

The overwhelming number of “treats” are nothing more than sugar, colorants and well junk. As a parent why would you want to have your child wigging out on sugar or the other ingredients. There are solutions: You can donate the “treats” to a food bank…. I know not ideal or you can substitute with some healthy snacks.

Do I hear real food, thinking of fruit, nuts and seeds and or some combination with no additives and minimal sugars. Have you seen the cookbook, “How Not to Die” ? Check out the section of treats, pages 184-200. Or go online and as an example consider a family teat of a healthy pumpkin pie ? Or maybe your into desserts a bit more and want to check out the offerings at Rouxbe and become a real star of the kitchen. How about some real chocolates and I mean organic,  fair trade, 70% or more cacao….. tastes great, easily available and limits the sugar assuming your not eating the whole bar.


Take Home Tips:

  • Plastic and vinyl products are not appropriate…. keep shopping
  • Research and use only safe cosmetic products for ones skin, think skin paint, hennas, other product applied directly to the skin
  • Spray-on hair coloring is also toxic go for a wig. 
  • If you’re considering fake teeth think plastic and toxic. They are made soft with phthalates, a group of endocrine disruptor chemicals.
  • If it smells like a chemical,  think of products such as nail polish, which contains a host of  volatile organic compounds (VOC’s)
  • Using commercial candles ? Switch to those make with either beeswax or soy. You home and kids don’t need more petrochemical combustion products in their lungs. 
  • Don’t purchase used costumes if they contain toxins, unfortunately they remain a problem for the lifetime of the item.
  • If it has a perfumed odor, It’s probably made from synthetic fragrances that contain phthalates, a known endocrine disruptor. 
  • Fake blood is another of the petrochemical products. Consider the use of fake blood made with cornstarch and beet juice.
  • Give and receive Real Food which is just plainly a better healthier choice.
  • Make your costumes using real cloth, cardboard, crayons, non-voc water based paints, plaster of paris and get creative.