TOADY 2016: The case for Lulu's Makeup Set

by: 

Nancy Gruver, Founder, New Moon Girls

Each year, the Toy Industry Association gathers to present its TOTY (Toy Of The Year) Awards. In honor of the industry that has led the way in commercializing childhood, CCFC will present its TOADY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young Children) Award for the Worst Toy of the Year. From thousands of toys that stifle creativity, lionize brands, and promote screen-based entertainment at the expense of children’s play, CCFC and our partners have selected six exceptional finalists for 2016. Below, New Moon Girls makes the case for Lulu's Ultimate Makeup Set by Pink Fizz.

Playing with makeup sold in a toy store shouldn’t endanger a girl’s health. But it does. That’s why New Moon Girls is nominating the Pink Fizz Beauty Essentials Little Bow Chic Collection: Lulu’s 11 piece makeup set as Worst Toy of the Year.

The Pretty Scary 2016 report from the Breast Cancer Fund's Campaign for Safe Cosmetics made our pick a no-brainer. 

The Pink Fizz kit is marketed with the tagline “the ultimate glam makeup collection in a box” at Toys R Us and numerous online stores. The Toys R Us website lists the age as 3+, the “glam” drawing of an older teen model exploits the aspirations of young kids with the false promise that they will be more grown up when wearing the makeup. And it works, as demonstrated by homemade videos on YouTube of very young girls “playing” delightedly with the kit. That already qualifies this product as a Worst Toy. 

Then there’s the part that turns my stomach. On the video, I watched a little girl using this makeup that contains many toxic chemicals. She’s having fun playing at the very same time that she’s putting toxins on her face. It brings to mind kids playing in a sandbox contaminated with lead or mercury. Ugh. Now we’re at WORST WORST Toy. 

A toy that’s so bad that the small print under the ingredients list actually says: “Keep out of reach of children.” 

Can you believe this product is on the shelves of Toys R Us and other toy stores with the age suggestion of 3+? I’m outraged! 

If you’re wondering what’s in this Pink Fizz product and similar play makeup kits (and in adult & teen cosmetics as well). The Pink Fizz label lists eight ingredients known to be toxic or carcinogenic, per the Breast Cancer Fund’s report:

  1. Talc: Talc may be contaminated with asbestos. Contaminated talc has been classified as carcinogenic by IARC. Inhalation of talc may cause respiratory distress, mesothelioma, and inflammation. Application of talc near the pelvic area can lead to irritation, infection, and inflammation. Talc may also be associated with ovarian cancer.
  2. Mineral Oil: Mineral oils are used in personal care products as skin conditioners, hair conditioners, and solvents. Mineral oils are derived from crude oil, and mildly refined mineral oils always contain significant amounts of polycyclic aromatic carbons (PAHs), which are likely carcinogenic. The NTP considers PAHs as a class to contain reasonably anticipated carcinogens. Untreated and mildly treated mineral oils are classified as known carcinogens by IARC and the NTP.
  3. Titanium Dioxide: A suspected or known carcinogen. 
  4. Propylparaben: Parabens are potential endocrine disruptors due to their ability to mimic estrogen.  In cell studies, parabens have been found to weakly bind to estrogen receptors. Studies demonstrate that at sufficient concentrations, parabens can increase cell proliferation in human breast cancer MCF-7 cells, which are often used as a sensitive measure of estrogenic activity. Propylparaben is also a reproductive toxin as it affects the male reproduction system and reduces sperm production and testosterone levels.
  5. Fragrance (Parfum): The constituent ingredients in fragrance are not listed on product labels or disclosed to consumers by companies and manufacturers. The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) lists almost 3,000 chemicals that have been used in fragrance. Ingredients like acetaldehyde, benzophenone, dichloromethane, styrene and titanium dioxide are suspected or known carcinogens. Chemicals like benzyl salicylate, diethyl phthalate, and propyl paraben are endocrine disruptors. Others are allergens, skin irritants, and toxic to the liver, lungs, and kidneys, among other organs.
  6. Hydrogenated  Styrene/Isoprene Copolymer: The European Commission on Endocrine Disruption classifies styrene as a Category 1 endocrine disruptor. Furthermore, the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classify it as a reasonably anticipated human carcinogen. If ingested, styrene can be toxic to red blood cells and the liver and if inhaled, it is toxic to the central nervous system. Exposure to solvents including styrene can result in an increased risk of breast cancer. 
  7. Silica Dimethyl Silylate: Silica may be toxic to the liver, respiratory system, and kidneys.
  8. Tosylamide/Epoxy Resin: Epoxy resin is most commonly made with bisphenol A (BPA). This can result in some residual BPA contaminating the product but not being listed on the label. BPA is a synthetic estrogen that is recognized as an endocrine-disrupting chemical because of its effects on hormone systems. Studies raise concerns that exposure to even low doses of the chemical can cause adverse health effects. These include abnormalities in breast development that can increase the risk of developing breast cancer, and harmful effects on reproductive development, prostate weight, testis weight, puberty onset, body weight, metabolic and immune system functions, and gender-related behaviors including aggression and some social behaviors.

As the report says, 

“There are real dangers in these children’s products designed for play or daily use. We have long known that the federal laws governing the safety used in personal care products are inadequate. The results of this study clearly indicate the need for strong, health protective, federal cosmetic safety reform to reduce children’s exposure to chemicals from products that on the surface seem playful, but upon scientific analysis, pose a dangerous threat to children’s health and well-being.” 

Help us put the pressure to use truly safe non-toxic, non-carcinogenic ingredients on Pink Fizz and other makers of makeup for kids by voting for this as The Worst Toy of 2016!

Nancy Gruver is the founder of New Moon Girlsthe girls' magazine and online communities of girls, parents, and allies raising strong girls in a still-unequal world.

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