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Trick or Treat!

It’s October once again, which means if you have kids chances are they’re already chomping at the bit in anticipation of the big night. After all, what’s better than dressing up as your favorite superhero and coming home at the end of the night with a sack full of candy? But as parents we always worry about the health and safety of our little ones, and this season I’d like to pass along some smart tips from our friends at EWG on how to have a greener, less toxic Halloween. Great ideas, guys!

Pick Play Makeup Carefully.

Many children like to wear colorful cosmetics as part of their costumes. If they do, make sure they use safer products and apply them as directed.

Skip the (Colored) Hairspray.

Many hairsprays contain toxic chemicals and fragrance. Kids can easily breathe in sprays. Instead, find a great hat or wig at a second-hand store; or create a great hair-do with ribbons, barrettes and safer, non-spray hair products.

Burn More Eco-friendly Candles (if at all).

Candles can off-gas toxic compounds. Choose fragrance-free candles made from bee, palm or soy wax. Traditional paraffin-wax candles are made from petroleum byproducts.

Don’t Wear Synthetic Facemasks or Teeth.

Masks and fake teeth are made from a variety of synthetic materials that aren’t always labeled. Plastics may be softened with endocrine-disrupting phthalates. Rather than cover your head in unknown, possibly toxic materials, make your own mask from simple materials or try a half-face, masquerade-style mask instead.

Offer Treats with Fewer, More Natural Ingredients

Products to Avoid:

Face Paints can contain lead, which can impact brain development at extremely low doses, as well as nickel, cobalt and chromium, which cause skin sensitization and contact dermatitis.

Lipstick can contain hidden lead. Because little ones tend to eat almost as much as they put on their lips, it is best to avoid lipstick all together. Opt instead for a shiny beeswax-based lip balm.

Nail Polish often contains dibutyl phthalate and toluene, chemicals linked to hormone disruption and cancer.

Cosmetics in Powder Form can easily be inhaled. Depending on the particle size, the powder can lodge in children’s nasal passages and even lungs – where it may cause damage.

Fragrance Products Read ingredient labels and avoid products listing “fragrance”. EWG research found that fragrances may contain allergens or hormone-disrupting chemicals.

Create a Low-impact Costume.

Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

If You are Going to a Party.

Rather than buying a new costume, get creative with items you already own or can get used at a local resale shop or from friends. Consider a costume swap at school or among friends.

If You are Going to a Party.

If you are going to a party or planning a quick meal, skip the single-use dinnerware. Choose a more sustainable option.

Decorate Naturally.

Grab pumpkins, gourds and hay bales from a local farm to create a haunting scene and reuse decorations from year to year.

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Change is good. Especially when it means families across the U.S. can breathe a little easier knowing that their government has taken a huge step in the right direction. This week New Jersey Senator Frank R. Lautenberg introduced the “Safe Chemicals Act of 2010” to help protect American families from the onslaught of industrial chemicals in use today—many of which have not been tested for safety.

Says Lautenberg in press release posted on his website, “America’s system for regulating industrial chemicals is broken. Parents are afraid because hundreds of untested chemicals are found in their children’s bodies. EPA does not have the tools to act on dangerous chemicals and the chemical industry has asked for stronger laws so that their customers are assured their products are safe. My ‘Safe Chemicals Act’ will breathe new life into a long-dead statute by empowering EPA to get tough on toxic chemicals.”

Read more about Senator Lautenberg’s Safe Chemicals Act, or read the full act here.

Want to help? Visit our friends at Environmental Working Group to see how your voice can help bring about change—and join the more than 85,000 concerned individuals who have already signed the petition to support EWG Action Fund’s Kid-Safe Chemicals Campaign.

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‡This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

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