We all know the importance of putting healthy and natural products on the skin.
Many ingredients are large enough to travel through the skin barrier and into the blood stream and it pays to be a little bit careful.
The EcoWaste Coaliation has recently discovered 12 products that exceed the Mercury Toxicity Limits. And exceeding the limit not by a little but in mammoth proportions.
Why The Concern About Mercury?
Mercury is most famously known for its “Mad Hatter” effect. In years gone by mercury toxicity was common in people who made felt hats who, as a result of their toxicity, had emotional disturbances. In fact the effect of mercury upon the nervous system includes:
- degeneration of nerve fibers
- reduced motor conduction speed
- paraesthesia and pain in the limbs
- memory loss, schizophrenia and mood swings.
- visual and auditory disturbances causing problems with gait, falling. slurred speech and tremor
In addition mercury toxicity causes:
- rashes including dermatitis
- hair loss
- birth defects
- concentrated in the thyroid and pituitary gland
- interferes with adrenal gland function
- accumulates in the kidney
Mercury also blocks the absorption of zinc, one of the most important minerals in the body especially for skin, immunity and mental health. That is why people pay $1000’s to have their amalgam fillings removed.
Why is Mercury Being Added to Skin Care Products?
Each of us have a perception of “the ideal look” and it is often something that we are not. For some of us that will result in us spending money to get a tanned look, whilst others will invest in skin lightening products to make themselves appear more attractive.
Mercury inhibits the production of melanin in the skin thus producing a lighter skin complexion. That is why unscrupulous manufacturers are adding it to their skin whitening products.
Aileen Lucero, the Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalation warns that “Inorganic mercury, an unlisted ingredient, in these products can enter the body through the skin. Repeated use will cause mercury levels in the body to soar as can be seen in the increased mercury levels in the urine” and ” Repeated application of mercury-laden skin creams could damage the kidneys and renal function.”
One of the products was found to have 52,100 parts per million (ppm) of mercury – the permissible limit for mercury in cosmetics under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive is one ppm.
In Australia Mercurochrome, which was applied to small areas for wound healing, was banned some years back. Of course the application of mercurochrome in small amounts, would be miniscule compared to the daily application of a cream that is so high in mercury.
A World Health Organization advisory has found that mercury in skin lightening products can cause a reduced resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring. Children, especially babies who suck on their mothers skin, can also ingest the mercury.
Which Products Have Been Found To Contain Mercury?
The following products were detected to be in violation of the 1 ppm mercury limit for cosmetics.
- BG Sea Pearl and Papaya Natural Essence 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Sun Block Cream with 51,000 ppm.
- Yudantang Ginseng and Green Cucumber 10 Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence with 43,500 ppm.
- Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Anti-Freckle Set with 28,800 ppm.
- Erna Whitening Cream with 8,284 ppm.
- Yinni Green Tea Quickacting Whitener and Speckle Remover Package with 6,554 ppm.
- Jiaoli Miraculous Cream with 4,740 ppm.
- S’zitang with 4,565 ppm.
- Bai Li Tou Hong with 2,859 ppm.
- Jiaoli 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set with 2,184 ppm.
- Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream with 1,305 ppm.
- Gakadi with 123 ppm.
Even though the FDA has banned nine of the above mercury-laced skin whitening creams some of these are still listed for sale on Ebay.
Mercury Laden Products Can Affect Us All
Even though you may not be using these products yourself, mercury can eventually find its way into the food chain where each of us can be exposed to its effects. Mercury containing products such as soap, creams and other cosmetics can enter our waste water and pollute our environment. Mercury enters the food chain as highly toxic methylmercury which can eventually be ingested from the fish that we eat.
What Can You Do To Protect Us From The Harmful Effects Of Mercury
In Australia cosmetic products are monitored by NICNAS (National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme). If you are concerned about any of these products, or any other products, you can notify NICNAS.
About EcoWaste Coalition
EcoWaste Coalition is a public interest network of community, church, school, environmental and health groups pursuing sustainable solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues facing the Philippines and the world.
Reference: SpecialChem – Aug 13, 2014. EcoWaste Coalation Finds 12 Skin-whitening Products to Exceed Mercury Toxicity Levels