Beauty May Be Only Skin Deep but Mercury Toxicity is Systemic

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) purports to regulate the use of mercury in cosmetics, allowing the metal to be present “in a trace amount of less than 1 part per million [ppm]” or if mercury’s presence “is unavoidable under conditions of good manufacturing practice.” In reality, however, cosmetics companies “are wholly responsible for the safety of their own products and for making sure they adhere to the FDA’s guidelines.” In other countries where cosmetics manufacturing takes place, the regulatory environment may be even muddier. All of these factors leave uninformed consumers at the mercy of an industry interested in hanging on to its high profits. How much mercury?

Studies have measured the mercury content of skin-lightening creams in a range of settings. These analyses have detected high concentrations of mercury (measured in different ways) that most often are well in excess of what regulators consider allowable:

An analysis of over 500 skin-lightening products

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