The products, sold over the counter in New York City, contain up to 14,000 times the allowable limit for mercury in cosmetics
April 6, 2018 –The Health Department today warned New York City residents about 10 skin-lightening creams from Pakistan and two medicated soaps from Spain with elevated levels of mercury. These products can contain up to 14,000 times the allowable limit for mercury in cosmetics. Exposure to mercury can cause serious and life-threatening health problems, including damage to the nervous system and kidneys. In pregnant women, mercury poisoning can also affect the fetus and increase the risk of miscarriage. The Health Department sent an alert to health care providers (PDF) in New York City to advise patients against using such products.
The Health Department recommends that New Yorkers immediately stop using all skin-lightening creams and medicated soaps that list mercury as an ingredient. However, mercury may not always be listed as an ingredient on the label, so New Yorkers should speak with their doctor if they are using non-prescription products to lighten their skin or for skin disorders.
The New York City Health Code prohibits the sale of toxic personal products. The Health Department is working with New York City businesses to remove the following products from their shelves:
The Health Department advises New Yorkers to:
Christopher Miller/Carolina Rodríguez:
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