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Protecting Our Kids From Toxic Exposure

The health and safety of our children is of upmost importance. Reading labels and buying non-toxic products is something we can all do to protect our loved ones. However, the rampant inclusion of toxins in children’s makeup and toys is still a threat for families. Protecting our kids from toxic exposure is essential.

Exposure to Toxins in Children’s Makeup 

If your child likes to play dress-up, you may be familiar with makeup kits marketed for children. Lots of TV shows, movies, clothing brands, and other entertainment brands will produce their own makeup lines. 

Be careful of the standards and quality of these cosmetics. Over the past decade, recalls and news about toxic ingredients has become an increasing issue to parents. 

As part of a Halloween health awareness guide, Dr. Axe brought attention to the dangers in kid’s makeup. They looked into over 120 products, and of those, 93 makeup kits tested positive for these toxic chemicals:  


This research, conducted by the Breast Cancer Fund, found that four face paints tested positive for arsenic. While this is a small number from a pool of 48 products, the CDC states that inorganic arsenic and arsenic compounds are cancer-causing agents. 

Long-term exposure is most severe and arsenic poisoning can also lead to hair loss, stomach cramps, convulsions, and vomiting. 

Arsenic in water is a typical danger, but if it contaminates makeup, then touching, inhaling, or eating it could all result in arsenic poisoning


Nearly 30% of the collected face paints tested positive for cadmium. This chemical causes kidney and lung damage, especially in children who have increased chances of developing learning disabilities. 

Children who play with toys manufactured with cadmium can inhale the dust or fumes. Its compounds are highly toxic but are common in cosmetics for its color properties such as lipstick and face powders. 


Although much lower, talc tested positive in 18% of the cosmetics for this study. Talc is linked to mesothelioma due to asbestos, a toxin sometimes polluting talcum powder. The FDA does not have a lot of standards for talc in makeup, and small amounts of talc exposure laced with asbestos can put you at greater risks for this type of cancer. 

Talc is not the same as asbestos, but the two can become confused as asbestos and talc are both mined closely together. Asbestos should never be in children’s makeup.

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)

According to the research, 20% of the cosmetic products tested contained VOCs. Among these were toluene, styrene, ethylbenzene, and vinyl acetate, all potential carcinogens that can be a danger when inhaled. 

VOCs are found in many products and for makeup, they are most typically discovered in flavored lip balms. Although they do not always present long-term health effects, headaches, fatigue, and sinus sensitivity are often results of VOC exposure

Exposure to Dangerous Chemicals in Children’s Toys

Reducing expenses is sometimes a higher priority than safety for toy manufacturers. This is how toxins can be carelessly added to children’s toys. Producing durable, flexible, flame retardant toys for cheap and having them ready for the market in a short period of time can mean cutting corners. 

Due to this, your children’s toys can have toxic chemicals like BPA, lead, chlorine, and phthalates. 

On March 31, 2021 a federal court maintained the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) ban to eliminate the use of phthalate chemicals in children’s products. 

For young developing minds and bodies, these toxins can have stronger symptoms. Researchers noted “that even low levels of exposure [prompt] hormonal disruption [and] lasting damage in children’s brain development.” 

The health effects of toxins in children’s products are not something to take a chance on. Many of these harmful chemicals overlap, as arsenic and cadmium can also be found in some toys.  

While work is being done to stop toxic exposure, parents should be mindful about these types of toxins in both makeup and toys. Children can’t prevent themselves from touching or playing with these products, so protecting our kids from toxic exposure is important.

Parents have to be extremely cautious with the products they are buying for their families. Thoroughly vetting your children’s toys, makeup, and other items can make a huge difference in the health and wellbeing of your whole family.

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