Halloween might be really scary this year, thanks to China.
A US retail outlet on Tuesday pulled hundreds of sets of Halloween costume teeth from sale amid fears they could contain excessive levels of lead.
"Due to possible lead contamination, this product (Ugly Teeth) has been recalled," Factory Card and Party Outlet said in a statement issued on the eve of Halloween.
Described as a "horribly realistic Halloween accessory to make your teeth look hideous", the Chinese-made "Ugly Teeth" are designed to be worn in the mouth by children dressing up for Halloween.
The teeth were analyzed by a team from Ashland University in Ohio looking into lead content in children’s products.
"Lead paint is a problem when it’s ingested by a child, so to have lead on an item that is designed to go into the mouth — that’s what’s particularly horrifying about these teeth," said Dr Jeffrey Weidenhamer of Ashland University in Ohio, the team leader.
"We analysed the paint on the surface of the teeth. The orange teeth were the worst in terms of having six to seven percent lead by weight in the paint," Weidenhamer said.
"That’s about 100 times the US standard on lead in paint which is .06 percent," he told AFP.
Lead can cause damage to the brain and nervous system of children, behavior and learning problems, slowed growth, hearing problems and headaches.
Just Born Inc. is making its Spooky Friends treats for Halloween in China.
That could be a scary thought for American consumers concerned about products made in China, which has been hit by a series of recalls of substandard goods and lead-tainted toys. An August poll by The Associated Press found that most Americans believe the U.S. government is not doing enough to ensure that Chinese imports are safe.