Mercurycan have a skin-lightening effect by suppressing the production of melanin, the compound that makes skin look darker. "We will continue to do so and take required action should there be sellers and products that don't meet our safety standards and our code of compliance," they told CNN. Place unused product(s) in a sealed plastic bag until they can be disposed of properly at an NYC Department of Sanitation SAFE Disposal event or Special Waste Drop-off location. Households are exempt from these regulations. Source:
They are used in trunks and hoods, heated car rear windows, acceleration sensors for air bags and seatbelts and anti-lock braking systems. Some skin lightening creams, for example, contain mercury and should not be used. According to the International Journal of Dermatology, demand for skin lightening products continues to grow, and the practice of skin bleaching is a serious global public health issue. Although the treaty came into full force in 2021, ZMWG's latest investigation revealed that nearly half of the skin-lightening products tested were in violation of the 1 ppm limit. If you do not have a doctor, call 311. For more information about mercury and health, call the Poison Control Center at 212-POISONS (212-764-7667). Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites. The longer and more often products containing mercury are used, the greater the health risk. The long-term use of steroids, or use without monitoring by a doctor, can lead to various side effects, such as rashes, pustules, hair growth on the skin, and infections. Source: Creams dominate the market and are estimated to reach $6.6 billion by 2027. That question is playing out in court in California, where a suit against Amazon alleged the company violated the Toxic Enforcement Act, or Proposition 65, because it sold skin lightening creams contaminated with mercury. Source: Have you heard about the male frog that ended up with female anatomy? However, some skin-lightening products have slipped through the cracks. Were not finding 1ppm were finding products that are hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of times above [1ppm], Bender said. According to the report, a greater number of the skin whitening products tested by ZMWG and found to contain high levels of mercury were available on eBay, Ubuy, Shopee (owned by Sea Limited) and Flipkart. The Product Stewardship Institute's best practices guide. We really need international cooperation., Original reporting and incisive analysis, direct from the Guardian every morning. Using skin-lightening products containing mercury can cause a blotchy rash in the short term, but exposure over a lifetime could have further damage to vital organs, according to the Environmental Working Group. Bender and Lymberidi-Settimo explained that while platforms often take products down when informed of their sale, they often appear again later. is strictly prohibited.". If you think a product in your home has mercury, then you should know: Guidelines for eating fish that contain mercury, Which products must be labeled and what information the labels must contain, Labeling requirements for CFLs and other light bulbs that contain mercury, List of common consumer products that contain mercury, How to recycle and dispose of items that contain mercury, Information for businesses and industries, What to do in case a mercury-containing product breaks, Northeast Waste Management Officials Association: Antiques, 2007 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report on releases of elemental mercury from antique clocks, barometers and mirrors, View EPA's Smart Sectors Mercury Switch Recovery Program page about the latest status of the National Vehicle Mercury Switch Recovery Program, Northeast Waste Management Officials Association: Mercury Use in Switches and Relays (PDF), U.S. Food and Drug Administration's guidance on disposal of unused medicines, Mercury poisoning linked to skin products (FDA.gov), Northeast Waste Management Officials Association: Mercury Use in Thermostats (PDF), 2011 fact sheet "Before You Tear it Down, Get the Mercury Out: Recommended Management Practices for Pre-Demolition Removal of Mercury-Containing Devices from Residential Buildings", Storing, transporting and disposing of mercury in your home, Search on Earth911.com for recycling and disposal options using your zip code or address, city and state, Recycling and disposal after a CFL burns out, Mercury-containing equipment regulated as universal waste, When a CFL or other fluorescent bulb breaks, When the amount spilled is more than what's in a thermometer, A label indicating that the product contains mercury, How to safely throw it away when you no longer need it, What to do if the mercury spills from a product such as a CFL or thermometer when it breaks. Most skin creams do not contain mercury compounds. . Mercury is regulated by the U.S. Department of Transportation, so know about applicable shipping laws before you ship. In some cases, the products are simply made in someones home, she added, so its difficult for authorities to find the operation and shut it down. The report, shared exclusively with CNN ahead of publishing, is the third by the ZMWG to reveal high levels of mercury in, and the global availability of, skin whitening soaps and creams. In any case, contact a healthcare professional if you believe you're having a reaction to mercury. Some of the samples tested by the Zero Mercury Working Group contained as much as 65,000 ppm of mercury an astounding 65,000 times the legal limit of 1 ppm set by the Food and Drug Administration. When asked for comment, Goree told CNN that its creams contain less than 1ppm mercury but did not respond to further questions or requests for comment regarding the latest ZMWG findings, which found the cream to contain 21699 ppm mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal. The Asia-Pacific market accounted for over half of global revenue in 2018 and is expected to grow the most, with China being among the fastest growing markets globally. Two years ago, she wanted to become fairer skinned ahead of her wedding and began using two of the creams identified to contain high levels of mercury in the report, which she purchased on one of the sites named in the report, she told CNN. It may also result in harmful changes in the placenta, subsequently causing damage to the fetus during pregnancy, and it can pass to children through skin-to-skin contact," explained Lymberidi-Settimo. . StrategyR. . For instance, Amazon's policy states, "Products offered for sale on Amazon must comply with all laws and regulations and with Amazon's policies. Other effects include anxiety, depression, psychosis and nerve damage that can result in pain or numbness in the hands, arms, legs and feet. Under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, some widely generated hazardous wastes, including mercury-containing wastes like mercury-containing light bulbs, certain spent batteries, thermostats, barometers, manometers, temperature and pressure gauges, and certain switches, are designated as "universal wastes." Certain skin-lightening creams and medicated soaps can contain mercury.
Amazon removed listings for the two products purchased by ZMWG when CNN informed them of the mercury levels they contained. Some of the products tested contain as much as 65,000ppm of mercury, which is well above any historical limit on the heavy metal. Those that do are generally imported from outside the U.S. and are sold as skin lightening or freckle creams. The report comes as public health advocates and e-commerce platforms battle over liability. Stay up to date with what you want to know. Sign up for notifications from Insider! Researchers found that out of 271 whiteners, brighteners, and fading creams sold online across 17 countries, 129 of them contained more than the legal limit of mercury . Skin whitening products containing high levels of mercury continue to be sold on the world's biggest e-commerce platforms, including websites run by eBay, Amazon and Alibaba, a new report by the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) finds. In 2019, a California woman who used mercury- contaminated skin lightening products slipped into a coma. Check packaging materials and any instructions or ingredient lists carefully. "People shouldn't have to worry that they're putting their health at risk by doing something as routine as applying skin cream or lotion," Melanie Benesh, an attorney with EWG, said in a press release. Chandni, Aneeza, Faiza, Noor and Kim did not respond to CNN's request for comment and CNN was unable to find a valid contact for Jiaoli, despite multiple enquiries with online sellers. Potential health harms include dermatitis, darkening of the skin, neurological problems, fetal growth retardation and possibly cancer. The US FDA recognizes that hydroquinone may be a carcinogen. In Sacramento, a woman fell into a coma after using skin cream contaminated with mercury. The Zero Mercury Working Group tested 271 products purchased from more than 40 online retailers. La Tia Mana informed CNN that products resembling theirs were once made by a separate company in Mexico and are now discontinued. Cosmetic products that are marketed as "skin lightening" or "anti-aging" may be more likely to contain some level of mercury, according to the FDA. Daraz and Aliexpress explained that they continuously update their measures to ensure users access safe and trusted products. Soaps and creams containing mercury are banned in the United States, but may be available for purchase over the counter or on the Internet. Mercury is used in LCD screens and monitors. The company claimed the products tested by ZMWG were these discontinued products, adding that their own product is homemade using ingredients bought in the US. You should also be aware of products that contain mercury and are not safe for use. World Health Organization. But 47% of the skin whitening products tested by the ZMWG contained more than the permitted level of mercury, with many containing over 10,000 ppm of mercury -- and some over 50,000ppm, according to the report. The FDA banned the use of mercury in most cosmetics at levels higher than 1 ppm in 1973. It may also damage the skin, cause rashes and blotchy spots, and give skin a grayish color. Once incinerated, mercury may end up in the air. Mercury contamination is widespread among skin lightening and anti-ageing creams sold on online platforms like eBay, Alibaba and Amazon, a new analysis of hundreds of products has found. All rights reserved. Copyright 2020, Environmental Working Group. McGill Office for Science and Society. These forever chemicals pollute water, dont break down, and remain in the environment and people for decades.
Most of these can be put in the regular trash and require no special handling. Her advice to others tempted by the promise of fairer skin is to avoid these creams at all costs. Amazon and eBay did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. The recoil suppressor unit of rifles may contain mercury to absorb and dampen shock. Cosmetics with mercury are often marketed as skin lightening creams and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. They were also asked what more would be done now that this report has highlighted an ongoing problem. See the CFL light bulbs website. Promee Tasneem, 28, is a schoolteacher in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Mercury is found in both inorganic and organic forms in cosmetics. A lock (LockA locked padlock) or https:// means youve safely connected to the .gov website. "I had become fairer, but I had also started developing red rashes below my eyes, which was where I would put more of the cream," she said. Its not the setup for a joke. Recycling mercury-containing products is one of the best ways to help prevent mercury releases to the environment by keeping these products out of landfills and incinerators.
Look for: Listed below are some skin-lightening creams and medicated soaps that have been found to contain high levels of mercury. Global Industry Analysts, Inc., estimates the global market for skin lightening creams is $8.8 billion in 2022 and projected to grow to $11.8 billion by 2026. Picnics, barbecues and time at the pool are all great excuses to get little ones outside to play and exercise. WASHINGTON A new report from the Zero Mercury Working Group finds almost half of skin lightening creams tested contained dangerously high levels of mercury but continue to be sold by online retailers like Amazon, eBay and Flipkart. . The following products may contain mercury. When disposing of larger appliances, either contact your state or local household hazardous waste collection center for advice on recycling or disposal, or contact a local appliance recycler. Some commercial products contain mercury. eBay told CNN it employs "a combination of digital and manual surveillance tools to remove products that do not comply with applicable health and safety regulations including skin lightening products containing banned ingredients hydroquinone and mercury." This story is part of 'White lies', a series by CNN's As Equals investigating skin whitening practices worldwide to expose the underlying drivers of colorism, the industry that profits from it and the cost to individuals and communities. Mercury salts block the production of melanin, leading to a lighter skin tone. After previous tests, some brands allegedly pulled contaminated batches from shelves, but the most recent study revealed many of the same companies were still selling mercury-contaminated products. is strictly prohibited. Amazon also has categories of products that require its approval before being sold. Since 2013, more than 100 countries have signed a treaty to restrict the use of mercury in cosmetics to 1 part per million (or 1 mg/kg), excluding eye area cosmetics that use small amounts of the stuff as a preservative. If the glass breaks, the mercury can spill. Zero Mercury Working Group tested 271 products from 15 countries and found nearly half to be contaminated at levels above 1ppm. ", International Journal of Women's Dermatology, American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. Products tested in a variety of countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America have contained up to 40,000 parts per million (ppm) of mercury. Products Made in European Economic Community. These switches and relays need to be properly removed by dismantlers. Businesses and industries that qualify as universal waste handlers must follow specific requirements for storing, transporting and disposing of these wastes.
Related Information for Consumers about Mercury. For its research, ZMWG purchased and tested 271 skin lightening products from more than 40 e-commerce sites in 17 countries across Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas. Some analysts expect skin lightening product sales to reach nearly $12bn globally by 2026, ZMWG said. The cosmetics section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, In the absence of federal reform, states are passing bans on chemicals in personal care products like skin creams. The companies also outlined checks and monitoring systems they have in place to prevent or remove products that violate these policies. "I can only warn people to not use these creams," Promee said. Today, Teflon-like compounds called PFAS are found in the blood of almost all Americans. These products can be especially harmful to children.
Gas-fired appliances, including ovens, water heaters, furnaces, poll heaters, and appliances in some recreational vehicles, may contain mercury. In 2018, the EWG joined 50 environmental and public health groups to urge, People shouldnt have to worry that theyre putting their health at risk by doing something as routine as applying skin cream or lotion, said, Outdated federal cosmetics policies must also be updated.
Skin-lightening creams containing mercury are still sold online despite a multinational agreement to stop making them, according to a new report from the Zero Mercury Working Group. In the absence of federal reform, states are passing bans on chemicals in personal care products like skin creams. Some counties and cities also have household hazardous waste collection programs. After publication, a legal representative for Ubuy responded to CNN, stating that the company was not aware of these products being sold on its sites and that UBuy addresses the sale of violative products and goods through its websites using algorithms to block them from appearing on a country's website or in search results. Both Amazon and eBay have restricted item policies. By simply enforcing these policies, both companies could help protect the public from a significant health risk. Older model electric appliances including chest freezers, space heaters, clothes dryers, clothes irons and washing machines may contain mercury switches that turn the device on or off, or turn a light on or off. Amazons policy states that Products offered for sale on Amazon must comply with all laws and regulations and with Amazons policies. Many states and local agencies have developed collection/exchange programs for mercury-containing devices such as thermometers,manometers, and thermostats. That is the gamechanger, Bender said. Appropriately dispose of mercury containing products. The cosmetics section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act has not been updated since 1938. Do not use of skin cream that contains mercury as this can lead to skin rashes or poisoning because mercury can be absorbed through the skin. If you do not know if an appliance contains mercury, contact the manufacturer. Research and Markets. The agency has investigated skin lightening creams and also created an import alert for skin whitening creams containing mercury, which allows FDA agents to detain certain products at the border. 1250 I Street NW If you discover a product containing mercury, thoroughly wash any skin that's been exposed and make sure to dispose of the product in a leak-proof bag or container. ZMWG, which is an international coalition of more than 110 public health advocacy groups, detected levels as high as 65,000ppm. The heavy metal has been used as an ingredient in lightening creams marketed towards Black and brown people, as well as treatments meant to remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. Old thermostats should be taken to a state or local household hazardous waste collection center for recycling. American Osteopathic College of Dermatology. This Fourth of July weekend is all about getting out in the sun. Zero Mercury Group. "Soon, my eyes started watering all the time and I went to a doctor who told me that what's happening to me is a side-effect of the creams I am using. The mercury in these types of products can be absorbed through your skin. The report called upon online retailers to enforce that regulation. CNN did not independently test the products named in the report. For information about these programs, contact your local officials to find out when and where a collection will be held in your area. Mercury has long been used in skin whitening products due to its ability to block the production of melanin in the skin -- the pigment that gives color to skin.