SmartPractice (a company that produces contact allergy diagnostic testing materials) performed a study of 549 skin lightening products and found that six percent of the products tested contained mercury in levels that is well above the FDA approved limit. The products came from the United States, China, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Sri Lanka and marketed or labeled as “lightening, bleaching, whitening, spot removal, dark removal, antispot, fairness or fading” products (Hamann, C., 2013).
The FDA’s limit for mercury in products is 1 ppm (parts per million). The products studied that contained high levels of mercury were reported to have levels of 1,000 ppm or more. Of the 549 products tested, 29% of the products came from Thailand (one of the products had a mercury level 45,622 ppm), 8.7% came from China and 3.3% came from the U.S. There were 15 products that had mercury level readings of 10,000 ppm. Products were purchased in stores (6.1%) and online (5.8%).
The article did not give the names the of products purchased for the study. Clinicians and consumers should be aware of mercury in lightening agents because they can have potential neurologic, renal and dermatologic effects.
To read more on this article, click on the following link:
Hamann, C. (2013). Healio Dermatology, “Skin-lightening products contained high amounts of mercury”. Retrieved January 15, 2014, from: http://www.healio.com/dermatology/aesthetic-cosmetic-surgery/news/online/%7B8286d143-8958-499b-b401-b08c66df178f%7D/skin-lightening-products-contained-high-amounts-of-mercury