Could toxic chemicals be playing a dirty trick on your family’s Halloween fun? As a parent, you’re already protective about stranger danger, staying visible after dark, checking candy and more. Have you heard about the elevated levels of toxic chemicals in some new Halloween gear?
If you had no idea this was even an issue, you’re not alone. Nothing at the store warns about these hidden dangers, even well-meaning governments agencies with words like “safety” in their title are not keeping up with this, and it’s typically independent, nonprofit watchdog groups that are left to protect the public.
The scientists at the Ecology Center’s HealthyStuff.org project have released laboratory findings in seasonal consumer products of substances linked to endocrine disruption, liver toxicity, learning disabilities, asthma, cancer and birth defects. These substances include lead, bromine (brominated flame retardants), chlorine (vinyl/PVC plastic), phthalates, arsenic and tin (organotins).
The Ecology Center examined dozens of Halloween costumes and accessories. Here are some examples of what they found:
The Ecology Center also reports that some Halloween gear they tested did not appear to include toxic chemicals, proving manufactures are capable of making safer products. You can get more details about this study and more specific gear that was tested at HealthyStuff.org.
There ought to be a law against toxic chemicals in kids’ Halloween gear, right? Sadly, there’s not. Occasional, limited measures on substances like phthalate plasticizers in certain baby gear have not stemmed the tide of toxic chemicals often allowed legally to be used in the manufacture of US consumer products. This is why your voice is needed with thousands of others who’ve been asking major retailers to Mind the Store and keep the worst chemicals of concern off their store shelves. You can learn more about Mind the Store and its importance in the overall efforts for Safer Chemicals, Healthy Families. The most recent efforts at reforming chemical safety policy have been narrower than more ambitious ones that never became law.