Study finds toxins in children’s Halloween costumes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- There are plenty of things to be concerned about on Halloween when it comes to safety, but should you be worried about chemicals in your children's costumes?

A new study is out that found elevated levels of toxic chemicals in popular Halloween costumes, accessories, and supplies.

"He's usually doing the scary type costume," said Michelle Nelson, a mom of two.

Nelson says she never thought twice about chemicals in Halloween costumes in the past.

"You know, you think about costumes, and you shouldn't have to look, but it makes sense," Nelson added.

The study by the nonprofit Ecology Center shows that certain Halloween costumes and accessories contain toxic chemicals.

"It's really hard to get away from having any of those things. The phthalates that were mentioned are plasticizers so that's going to be in any plastic. You're going to have a phthalate," said Dr. Adam Algren, M.D., a Medical Toxicologist at Children's Mercy Hospital. "The Bromine and the Antimony that was mentioned, those are flame retardants."

Dr. Algren says generally speaking, he would not expect many negative health effects from a Halloween costume that you wear a handful of times.

"When you have costumes on and when you have those materials against your skin, you're not going to absorb a significant amount of whatever substance it might be through the skin," said Dr. Algren. "Those kind of health effects are really what you would expect who has chronic, either ingestion or inhalation, of a substance over a longer period of time."

Nelson says she had no idea that costumes contained anything that could be dangerous to your health.

"Yeah, definitely, I wouldn't want my child or any other children exposed to it," Nelson said. "I'm going to be more on the lookout to be sure what you put on your children, especially costumes, something non-toxic, definitely."

Dr. Algren says one of the most common calls this time of year is about glow sticks, which he says are not toxic. He also says he doesn't worry about it with his own kids, but says if you're concerned, just wash your hands before you take the costume on and after you take it off.

CLICK HERE to read the article on the study.



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