Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Mercury in Cosmetics: FDA Says Beware!

My dear friend Amy pointed out this article on MSNBC, which drew attention to an FDA report on mercury in skin-lightening products. If you are not aware, mercury is very toxic and accumulates in the body over time, causing some nasty health issues.

The FDA brief starts with:
Federal health officials are warning consumers not to use skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, or lotions that might contain mercury.

The products are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles, says Gary Coody, national health fraud coordinator in the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Regulatory Affairs. Adolescents also may use these products as acne treatments, adds Coody. Products with this toxic metal have been found in at least seven states.

The products are manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the United States—often in shops in Latino, Asian, African or Middle Eastern neighborhoods and online. Consumers may also have bought them in another country and brought them back to the U.S. for personal use.

“If you have a product that matches these descriptions (and others listed below), stop using it immediately,” says Coody.

“Even though these products are promoted as cosmetics, they also may be unapproved new drugs under the law,” says Linda Katz, M.D., director of FDA’s Office of Cosmetics and Colors. FDA does not allow mercury in drugs or in cosmetics, except under very specific conditions, which these products do not meet.

That last part caught my attention. So just what uses *are* acceptable for toxic mercury to be in drugs or cosmetics? I spent about 15 minutes trying to search the FDA site for this information to no avail, but I did come across a terrifying report from 2002 on Phthalates. That's next up.

1 comment:

  1. Over from Bloggers for Families. This is a wake-up call! I'm always so careful but it is hard when companies are deceptive or do not disclose everything. Thanks for the post xxx

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    I'm Katy at :)