Terra Sigillata

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The US Food and Drug Administration is usually the first federal authority to take action on adverse event reports for any health product. But few appreciate that the FDA is also responsible for regulation of cosmetic products: pretty much anything applied to the skin.

So, it was no surprise when I was trolling the FDA adverse event reports and news releases to find their announcement of a recall of a number of children’s face paints due to rashes and undue skin irritation. The products are manufactured by Shanghai Color Art Stationery Company Limited, Shanghai, China.

The original recall was issued on 12 May but two additional colors were added yesterday.

While you may not recognize the name of the Chinese manufacturer, parents may recognize the name of the US distributor of these products: Oriental Trading Company of Omaha, Nebraska. (I’d add that they were the ones who issued a voluntary recall and did not require FDA action to do so).

The Food and Drug Administration warned consumers last week to stop using six paint colors distributed by Oriental Trading Co. of Omaha, Neb., after reports of rashes and skin irritations. The products were found to have yeast and mold counts above industry guidelines, FDA said.

Oriental Trading Co. subsidiary Fun Express announced Friday it was adding white and yellow face paints to the colors already recalled, which were blue, purple, red, orange, black and green.

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If you’ve ever bought any kind of kids’ party supply at a US retail outlet, you must already be on the mailing list for Oriental Trading Co. They make it possible to buy hundreds of fun holiday and other special occasion items at amazingly low prices. For example, the Halloween brain hat holds a special place in my heart. And can you believe they offer 22 eyeball products? Their print catalog makes for hours of fun reading with a little person and often makes it difficult to get in the requisite evening reading time with the budding young mind. In fact, it was suggested to me that I should have attended last weekend’s commencement exercises in the sequined disco mortarboard.

Another reason I post this information is for parents taking their kids to any of a number of music and craft festivals that seem to be exploding in North America given the arrival of fabulous pre-summer weather. And as it was when I took the PharmKid to the Shakori Hills Festival of Music and Dance, face-painting stations are a major attraction for the little people. So, guess how the distributor and FDA learned of problems with the face paints?:

The FDA has learned of a cluster of adverse events in children exposed to various colors of the face paint. All exposures occurred on the same day at an organized event and included rashes, itchiness, burning sensation, and swelling where the face paints were applied. Significant microbial contamination was indicated in most of the products in testing by an FDA laboratory.

So, if you’re out today at a festival and go to a kids’ facepainting station, be sure the folks aren’t using these products.

Happy weekend to you all!

Comments

  1. #1 Tsu Dho Nimh
    May 23, 2009

    a cluster of adverse events in children exposed to various colors of the face paint. All exposures occurred on the same day at an organized event and included rashes, itchiness, burning sensation, and swelling where the face paints were applied. Significant microbial contamination was indicated in most of the products

    It’s common to see several artists, all dipping brushes into the same pot of paint all day long, using the same brushes on a series of sweating, grubby children. That’s a recipe for a nice outbreak of impetigo, scabies, ringworm or MRSA.

  2. #2 Chemgeek
    May 23, 2009

    I’ve noticed the increasing trend toward using temporary tattoos which I appreciate.

  3. #3 Abel Pharmboy
    May 23, 2009

    @Tsu Dho Nimh – I agree with your ideas about the communal bacteria-fest but my reading of the story is that the face paints in question already had high bacteria and mold counts as packaged.

  4. #4 daedalus2u
    May 25, 2009

    They may have had bacteria and mold, but they were likely preservative free.

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