Would You Put Mercury on Your Skin?

March 13th, 2012 | General News

You may be more familiar with mercury as the liquid metal used in thermostats and old thermometers. Now, this toxic metal may also be hiding in some of your anti-aging skin products. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid skin care products with mercury.

How can Mercury Skin Products be Legal?

Well, it isn’t. These products with mercury are manufactured globally and sold illegally in the United States either online or in small foreign shops.

“Exposure to mercury can have serious health consequences,” says Charles Lee, M.D., a senior medical advisor at FDA. “It can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with the development of the brain in unborn children and very young children.”

Mercury poisoning can also occur by breathing in the fumes after someone in the household has used the cream on their skin.

Here are some tips from the FDA on how to avoid products with mercury:

  • Check the label of any skin lightening, anti-aging or other skin product you use. If you see the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,” stop using the product immediately.
  • If there is no label or no ingredients are listed, do not use the product. Federal law requires that ingredients be listed on the label of any cosmetic or drug.
  • Don’t use products labeled in languages other than English unless English labeling is also provided.
  • If you suspect you have been using a product with mercury, stop using it immediately. Thoroughly wash your hands and any other parts of your body that have come in contact with the product. Contact your health care professional or a medical care clinic for advice.
  • If you have questions, call your health care professional or the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222; it is open 24 hours a day.
  • Before throwing out a product with 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 household hazardous waste.

Source: FDA

Avoid Products with Mercury!

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