Our daughter used to love face painting and temporary tattoos.
As the opportunities to have either of these are infrequent, I would turn a blind eye as I sometimes do with candy or other unhealthy snacks that she manages to acquire while playing with friends.
It wasn’t until we were celebrating Canada Day in Vancouver when we received a small Canadian flag temporary tattoo (from McDonald). I am actually very grateful that McDonald’s chose to list the ingredients in the temporary tattoo as most do not. Well needless to say I am not ‘lovin it’ as the slogan goes. I should have known better but here goes the list of ingredients:
Vinyl Acetate, Butyl Acrylate, Methacrylic Acid Polymer, Propylene Glycol, Petrolatum, Linseed Oil Soybean Oil, Mineral Oil, Iron Oxides (CL77499), Blue #1, Aluminium Lake ( CL42090-2) Yellow #5, Aluminium Lake (19140:1) Yellow #6, Aluminium Lake ( 15985:1), Red #7 Calcium Lake (CL 15850:1) , Titanium Dioxide.
As we now know, just because it says ‘non-toxic’ or ‘FDA approved’ does not mean that these materials are safe to place on the skin especially as is the case with colourants. For reference, the lake pigments are colours bound to an insoluble metallic salt, in this case, aluminium oxide. Many colourants are suspected of being carcinogens, teratogens (pass through the placenta into an unborn child) or toxins. The colourant with the highest level of concern is the D&C listed ones meaning they can be used in drugs and cosmetics but not food. It is especially recommended to avoid Blue Aluminium Lake 1 and 2, Red No. 19, Aluminium Lake dies in general, Zirconium Lake and Yellow No. 8.
Lastly The Environmental Working Groups (EWG) Cosmetic Data Base has done a nice job of outlining the hazards and toxicity concerns of the most concentrated ingredient in the temporary tattoo – vinyl acetate.