(edited from the FDA Advisory: Mercury Poisoning Linked to Skin Products)
Federal health officials have recently issued a warning to consumers about skincare products that may contain mercury.
The products are currently being marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles, says Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. Teens also may use these products as acne treatments, adds Coody.
The FDA does not allow mercury in drugs or in cosmetics, except under very specific conditions.
These unregulated products are imported from other countries and sold illegally in the United States—often in shops in ethnic neighborhoods and online. Consumers may also have bought them outside of the US and brought them back for personal use.
Here are 12 skin care products that have been found to contain Mercury that consumers should watch out for:
1. Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream
2. Diana C.T.R (center box)
3. Savon pour L’acné Diana soap (left and right boxes)
4. Lulanjina White and Yellow Creams
5. Cream Aghader
6. Qian Mei White Cream
7. Qian-Mei Yellow Cream
9. Lemon Herbal Whiting Cream
11. Milk Cream
12. Crema Aguamary
Exposure to mercury can damage the kidneys and the nervous system. Exposure has also shown to interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and infants.
Common symptoms of Mercury poisoning include:
- Vision or hearing changes
- Memory problems
- Numbness and tingling in hands feet or around the mouth
1. Check the label of your skin care products. If any of the following words appear on the label, stop using the product immediately.
- Mercurous Chloride
2. If the product has no label or listing of ingredients, stop use immediately
3. Avoid products that do not have labeling in English.
4. If you have used a product that you think contains Mercury, wash your hands and any other areas that have come into contact immediately. Contact your physician or health care professional.
5. For questions, call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (www.poison.org).
6. Do not throw out the product that may contain mercury in the trash. Seal the product in a leak proof container or bag and contact your local environmental, health, or waste agency. They can give you instructions for properly disposing of the product.
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Tracking Skin Care Products that Contain Mercury
Over the past few years, the FDA and state health officials have found more than 35 products that contain unacceptable levels of mercury.
Mercury-containing skin products are included in the FDA’s import alerts. If any of these products are found in an incoming shipment into the US, the agency’s field staff is authorized to refuse admission.
Texas health officials say samples of face cream they tested contained mercury up to 131,000 times the allowable level.
The California Department of Public Health reported a 39-year old woman who was found to have more than 100 times the average amount of mercury in her urine and had symptoms of mercury poisoning. For three years, the woman and her husband had been using an unlabeled mercury-containing face cream that was brought into the U.S. from Mexico.
Other states including Virginia, Maryland, and New York have also seen cases of elevated mercury levels in people exposed to skin products containing mercury.
For more information please visit FDA.gov