ORLANDO, Fla. — Every race season, a rainbow of runners storm through clouds of colored powder.
After that test, WFTV collected more colored powder samples from The Color Run and Color Vibe races. Because running these kinds of races typically means inhaling some of the powder, WFTV wanted to know if it is safe.
WFTV asked an assistant professor, a researcher and their students from the University of Central Florida to break down the powders and provide a list of all the chemicals found inside.
Many runners believe the powder is nothing more than cornstarch, but our inspection revealed more. Here’s a list of chemicals found in the five brands we tested.
Michler’s keytone – carcinogen
Auramine – carcinogen
Coumarin – carcinogen
Auramine – carcinogen
Some Drolia powders contain carcinogens, including auramine, which can cause liver damage at a certain amount.
Some Chameleon Colors powders showed an abnormally high amount of bromine, which can cause breathing issues in large amounts and gastrointestinal problems if swallowed.
Some HoliRangoli powders contained carcinogens, such as coumarin. The Color Run samples contained calcium sulfate, which is used in drywall and won’t dissolve in your lungs. The Color Vibe powder is not much more than salt.
“I really wasn’t thinking about what I was breathing in,” said Dr. Todd Sontag, with Orlando Health Physician Associates.
The findings were taken to Sontag, a general practitioner who ran in a color race a few years ago.
“Inhaling any powder, whatever it is, is not going to be great for your lungs,” he said.
Sontag said that’s the main concern, but that he doesn’t think the chemicals are at a high enough concentration to cause medical problems for runners. He suggested running with a bandana or mask over your nose and mouth, however.
“Nothing’s going to prevent 100 percent,” he said. “But everything you can prevent is to your advantage.”
WFTV reached out to each brand to explain our findings. Only The Color Run responded, saying:
“Based on the toxicological profiles of the ingredients used, their concentrations in the formulation and mode of use of the product, it has been concluded that this product poses a low level of toxicological risk and is considered safe for use. The Color Run has invested a lot to insure their color powder is safe for its participants and it’s one of The Color Run’s core values to conduct safe and secure events.”