'Today, 51 environmental and public health groups, including EWG, called on Amazon and eBay to remove illegal skin care products containing dangerous levels of mercury. The products, purchased and tested by the Mercury Policy Project, in some cases contained as much as 30,000 parts per million, or ppm, of mercury – an astounding 30,000 times the legal limit of 1 ppm set by the Food and Drug Administration.
Mercury is a highly toxic heavy metal. Mercury exposure can cause kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression, psychosis and nerve damage that can result in pain or numbness in the hands, arms, legs and feet.
These health risks aren’t limited to people who use skin products containing mercury. Mercury vapors can get into the air and cause harm to other people and even pets. People can also be exposed by touching washcloths or skin that has come in contact with one of these products. Babies and children are especially at risk of harm because of their developing brain and nervous systems. Newborns can be exposed to mercury through breastmilk.
Mercury is used in cosmetics as a skin lightening agent and preservative. Cosmetics with mercury are often marketed as skin lightening creams and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. Adolescents sometimes use these products as acne treatments.'
Read more: Dangerous Levels of Mercury Found in Skin Creams Purchased on Amazon, eBay
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