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Are Cornstarch Color Throws Safe?

In recent years, themed charity races and foam partiesfeaturing colorful cornstarch powder throws have gained immense popularity. These events, known as color runs or color blasts, have taken social media by storm, with participants proudly displaying their vibrant colors. However, as with any trendy activity, questions about the safety of these color throws have arisen.

The Rise of Color Runs and Foam Parties

Color runs, such as the famous Color Run series, have become the largest running events in the world, attracting millions of participants in over 35 countries. These races involve runners being doused in colored powders made from cornstarch tinted with FDA-approved dyes. The aim is to create a visually stunning spectacle and a memorable experience for participants.

Concerns About Inhalation

While color run organizers claim that the powder is non-toxic and safe, experts have raised concerns about the potential health risks associated with inhaling these particles. Dr. Brian Christman, a lung specialist, has expressed reservations about the practice, stating that even small amounts of cornstarch powder can pose a health hazard. Inhaling these particles can lead to respiratory issues and long-term lung damage, especially in individuals with asthma or young children with developing lungs.

Research on Cornstarch Powders

A study published in The European Respiratory Journal in 2003 investigated the effects of cornstarch powder used in surgical gloves on airway inflammation. The results indicated that inhaling cornstarch particles can cause the development of subclinical inflammation in the airways, potentially leading to lung damage. This finding raises concerns about the long-term impact of inhaling large quantities of cornstarch powder during color runs.

Flame Resistance and Safety

Another aspect of concern is the flammability of these colored powders. In a 2015 incident in Taiwan, a color play party using similar powder resulted in a fiery explosion, causing burns to over 500 people. While the Color Run and similar events claim to use non-flammable cornstarch powder, the flammability of the powder used in these events remains a topic of debate. Fire chiefs and experts have called for additional testing and safety measures to ensure the absence of flammable properties in the powders.

Analysis of Color Dust Composition

To shed light on the composition of color run powders, Middle Tennessee State University conducted an analysis of several samples. The results revealed that while the majority of the powders had a chemical makeup consistent with cornstarch or pancake mix, some samples contained substances that raised concerns. For example, one pink powder closely matched the chemical composition of Decon rat poison, while another green powder showed similarities. These findings require further investigation and testing to determine the potential risks associated with these substances.

Safety Measures for Participants

To address the potential risks associated with color throws, event organizers recommend certain safety measures. Participants are advised to wear protective eyewear such as sunglasses or goggles to prevent direct contact with the powder. Additionally, individuals with allergies or asthma are encouraged to use protective masks or distance themselves from color blast stations to minimize inhalation of the powder. Event organizers may also provide protective masks at a low cost to ensure participant safety.

Clean-up and Environmental Impact

After the color blast party, proper clean-up procedures are necessary to ensure the removal of color dust from participants’ bodies and the event area. Volunteers equipped with color dust blowers can help remove excess powder from participants. Participants are advised to wear old clothes and shoes that can be easily cleaned or discarded. The color dust can be blown off with a leaf blower or washed out with soap and water. To minimize the environmental impact, tarps can be used at color blast stations, and color dust can be swept off walkways and contained to prevent contamination of wildlife and vegetation.

Recommendations for Future Safety

Given the concerns surrounding the safety of cornstarch color throws, experts suggest the need for regulation and formal testing of these powders. Currently, there are no specific regulations in place regarding their use in events. With preliminary findings indicating potential risks, further analysis and research are essential to ensure the safety of participants. By implementing safety measures, conducting thorough testing, and addressing any potential hazards, event organizers can prioritize the well-being of participants and create an enjoyable experience.


While color runs. color foam parties and color blasts provide participants with a visually captivating and exciting experience, questions about the safety of cornstarch color throws remain. Inhalation of these powders, as well as their flammability and composition, raise concerns among experts. By taking appropriate safety measures, conducting further research, and promoting transparency, event organizers can ensure the safety and well-being of participants. As the popularity of color runs continues to grow, it is crucial to prioritize the health and safety of individuals engaging in these events.

Arizona Foam Fun Arizona’s leading foam party professionals does not nor ever will use corn starch color throws! We only use foam that is Hypoallergenic, Bio-Degradable, Non-Toxic, Scent Free and Non Staining. For more information about our awesome and safe foam parties please CLICK HERE

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