Mercury exposure can cause potentially deadly health problems.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions that one should avoid skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, and lotions that contain mercury.
How to check mercury’s presence in the cosmetic, (especially those marketed as “anti-aging” or “skin lightening”) Check the label. If the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury” are listed on the label, mercury’s in it—and you should stop using the product immediately.
According to a 2016 study in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health, an adult can potentially absorb up to 450 mcg of mercury from a single application of a product containing 10,000 ppm of mercury. That’s 90 times the amount in a 4-oz Mediterranean swordfish steak.
Mercury present in cometic products is linked to nervous system toxicity, as well as reproductive, immune and respiratory toxicity. Mercury is found in thimerosal, which is a mercury-based preservative, and it is readily absorbed by the skin. However, you might not find mercury or thimerosal on the ingredient list of your favourite cream. Products that contain mercury are considered “hazardous waste.” Seal the item in a plastic bag and check with your local waste district or trash collector about disposing of it correctly. Use of cosmetic use by pregnant mothers can lead to slower fetal growth, mercury that can not be wasted by the kidney, piles on the body, and into the fetus when the mother is pregnant.
Symptoms of mercury exposure include:
- Wash your hands and other parts of your body that have come in contact with products that contain mercury.
- Before throwing out a product that may contain mercury, seal it in a plastic bag or leak-proof container.
- Check with your local environmental, health, or solid waste agency for disposal instructions. Some communities have special collections or other options for disposing of hazardous household waste.
- Get your tests of mercury done. The normal level of mercury is less than 10 micrograms / liter in the blood and less than 20 micrograms / liter in urine. Before doing the test, make sure you are not consuming fish 5 days before the test to avoid false-positive test results. Seafood contains high levels of mercury.
- Contact your health care professional or a medical care clinic for advice.