Four of 16 products tested contained colouring agents or pigments not permitted under the Cosmetic Products Group Standard – a regulation by the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA).
Some products were also missing basic labelling requirements stipulated by EPA. Companies are required to provide sufficient information within the label for consumers to be able to contact the importer or manufacturer, and to identify the batch code.
While the products did explicit safety advice on its product packaging, the images on the packaging often convey a contrary message – by showing people with paint on their eyelids or close to their eyes.
None of the products during this testing round had toxic levels high enough to be recalled from the market.
“The [regulatory] standard prohibits the presence of the heavy metals we tested except at trace levels that are considered “technically unavoidable in good manufacturing practice”. So, all of the products we tested met the standard,” the report stated.
The testing was undertaken by Consumer NZ, an independent, non-governmental organisation.
During this testing round, a sample of 16 face paints were tested for their colouring agents within an accredited laboratory. Additionally, the product packaging was assessed for their compliance to regulatory requirements.
The products originated from mostly China, and others from New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom.
Follow-up from the testing round
Consumer NZ contacted the companies to address the respective findings around their products.
Most of the companies which responded stated they are making efforts to rectify their products to meet regulatory requirements.
Their efforts ranged from correcting the ingredient list, contacting customers to provide more information about their products, recalling their current batches, removing non-permitted ingredients from future production, and putting out new product packaging for the NZ market.
The research also highlighted the need to question claims made by products as “safe” or “non-toxic”, as face paints can contain ingredients, such as preservatives, that may trigger an allergic reaction in some people.