Abstract: Mercury is considered one of the most toxic elements for plants and animals. Nevertheless, in the Middle East, Asia and Latin America, whitening creams containing mercury are being manufactured and purchased, despite their obvious health risks. Due to the mass distribution of these products, this can be considered a global public health issue. In Mexico, these products are widely available in pharmacies, beauty aid and health stores. They are used for their skin lightening effects. The aim of this work was to analyze the mercury content in some cosmetic whitening creams using the cold vapor technique coupled with atomic absorption spectrometry (CV-AAS). A total of 16 skin-lightening creams from the local market were investigated. No warning information was noted on the packaging. In 10 of the samples, no mercury was detected. The mercury content in six of the samples varied between 878 and 36,000 ppm, despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has determined that the limit for mercury in creams should be less than 1 ppm. Skin creams containing mercury are still available and commonly used in Mexico and many developing countries, and their contents are poorly controlled.
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Peregrino, C.P.; Moreno, M.V.; Miranda, S.V.; Rubio, A.D.; Leal, L.O. Mercury Levels in Locally Manufactured Mexican Skin-Lightening Creams. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8, 2516-2523.
Peregrino CP, Moreno MV, Miranda SV, Rubio AD, Leal LO. Mercury Levels in Locally Manufactured Mexican Skin-Lightening Creams. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2011; 8(6):2516-2523.
Peregrino, Claudia P.; Moreno, Myriam V.; Miranda, Silvia V.; Rubio, Alma D.; Leal, Luz O. 2011. "Mercury Levels in Locally Manufactured Mexican Skin-Lightening Creams." Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 8, no. 6: 2516-2523.