Toxic Skin Care Products

June 26, 2012

FDA has notified health care professionals and warned consumers not to use skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps or lotions that might contain the toxic metal mercury. These products, found in at least seven states, claim to be skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. Adolescents may use them to treat acne. They are manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the United States—often in shops in Latino, Asian, African or Middle Eastern neighborhoods, and online—or brought to the U.S. from other countries. FDA and state health officials have found more than 35 products containing unacceptable levels of mercury.

Risk: Mercury poisoning can cause damage to the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with brain development in unborn children and very young children.

Recommendations

  • Check the label of any skin lightening, anti-aging, or other skin product. If there is no label or no ingredients listed, do not use the product.
  • Do not use—or immediately stop using—products that list these ingredients: mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio or mercury.
  • Thoroughly wash hands and any other body parts that have come in contact with the product.
  • Contact a health care professional or medical clinic for advice.
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