What about areas of the world with very strict laws in regards to face painters? Example: Calgary, Alberta, Canada
by Gary Cole


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In many parts of the world there are some very strict or confining laws for face painters. These can be confined to a specific event in a town, to a specific county or in some cases very large territories like Alberta, Canada. I can only speculate on how these regulations for face painters came about so if someone in the area knows the rest of the story, I'd love to hear it.
Generally when government officials take the time to write up regulation it is because something happened. I would assume there was some face painting event here and there was a bad experience. Most likely some face painter was either using some paint that was not meant for face painting or they used some poor paints like the Rose Art paints that were recalled. As you know they were pulled from the shelves because of a 28% allergic reaction rate. I could see that if there was a large scale family event and over one in four had an allergic reaction, perhaps several of them more than minor that it could raise a stink.
Take that stink and turn it over to some angry moms and some government officials and rules are implemented that are not fair to anyone even though they shut up the angry moms and sooth the bureaucrats in office. I would suspect when the heat got turned up the face painter using the bad product ran for cover and it was then left up to people that had five percent of the facts to set the new guidelines. In turn that reaction ended up with some bad new rules.
I think most on this list would agree that if you stuck with the major brands of safe face paints there is relatively few risks. Couple that with some educated face painter with basic skills, clean water and clean tools to work with and the allergic issues were be extremely low if not absent. I think we as professional face painters need to get involved and at least make comments to those using unsafe products to prevent such conflicts. When we hear of such things get involved at the regulatory level.
When the government official is reactive and does not do their home work then it is pretty easy to regulate away the problem. This can cover everything from defining what products can be used to flat banning the face painting. Until now I have seen such regulations only in backwater communities when people are uninformed. These guidelines in Alberta are province wide (as I understand it) or at best for the area known as Calgary. If it applies to all of Alberta we are talking about a very large geographical area. I would hate to see this happen in my state of Texas. I suppose if this were to happen in my area I would take an active role to get the rule over turned or at the least have it modified to protect both the child and the face painter. The rules in Calgary, in my opinion, are extreme.
Here are the rules, I wonder how well they are adhered to or how well they are informed. This is the wording...
"The following requirements of the Calgary Health Region, Environmental Health for the safe operation of personal services at events. Personal services include barbering, hair dressing/braiding, esthetics (e.g. manicures, pedicures, waxing), massage, tattooing, ear/body piercing and face painting.
Requirements of Alberta Health Standards and Guidelines for Personal Services must be met.
Hair Control. Single-use hair control or bandeaus, barrettes, etc. that are smooth, impervious to moisture and can be sanitized after each use.
Make-up/Face painting. Make-up/Face Paints - apply with a clean single use applicator unless the applicator can be cleaned and sanitized after each use. Make-up pencils/face crayons - sanitize after each use. Face stencils - use single-use stencils or reusable stencils that are smooth, impervious to moisture and can be sanitized after each use.
Sanitizers. All equipment and supplies which come into direct contact with the person must be thoroughly cleansed and sanitized after each use and maintained in a sanitary condition until re-use. Approved methods of sanitizing equipment include... An ethyl or isopropyl solution of not less than 70% (i.e. alcohol swabs). A chlorine solution at a strength of not less than 100 ppm (e.g. 1/2 teaspoon household bleach to 1 liter of water). A quaternary ammonium solution at a strength of not less than 200 ppm. Any other method approved by Calgary Health Region, Environmental Health."
So you see they will go through quite an ordeal in order to be compliant with these rules. AT BEST the process is expensive (additional materials for sanitizing, many more brushes and sponges) and time as this is all labor intensive.
Can you imagine a new brush and sponge for each color used for each child?
Now that the rule is written and there are people enforcing it, there will be quite a challenge to get it overturned. It will take someone that is tenacious, diplomatic and educated to work through the system to correct the mess.
I guess the point is everyone has an obligation to get involved before something like this happens in your area of the world. Stay informed and get involved.
Gary Cole

Ruby Red Paints Inc.


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