The Food and Drug Administration is now warning consumers over the mercury content of many ‘off-brand’ personal care products, an element that is toxic in all forms. While the FDA is warning against certain ‘off-brand’ skin creams and lotions, a previous investigation by the Chicago Tribune involving 50 skin-lightening creams found mercury levels as high as 300,000 parts per million – six of which were even found to contain amounts of mercury banned by federal law. Five of the six had more than 6,000 parts per million — enough to potentially cause kidney damage over time.
According to the new FDA report, the common culprits are marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging products. The agency also states that mercury-containing skin products were found in at least seven states, including Texas, California, Virginia, Maryland, New York and Minnesota. The FDA findings also reached similar conclusions to the independent analysis by the Chicago Tribune, with face cream tested by the agency containing mercury up to 131,000 times more than the allowable level.
Gary Coody, the national health fraud coordinator for the FDA’s Office of Regulatory Affairs, says that the products are often sold illegally in the United States or transported in from other countries.
If the product contains “mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio, or mercury,” stop using the product right away, the FDA said.
The news comes just after it was found that as many as 400 popular lipstick shades actually contain lead. The federal analysis reviewed top lipstick brands sold to children and adults alike. Purchased between February and July of 2012, all 400 shades came from retail stores. The lead content actually exceeded the limit that is safe for candy, except the FDA claims that it is “safe” in lipstick due to the fact that you do not ‘eat’ lipstick. Lipstick, however, is oftentimes ingested when eating and drinking, kissing, or licking your lips. In addition, chemicals can easily be leached into the skin.
Both reports serve as a reminder to only buy 100 percent organic personal care products and to avoid purchasing anything from traditional drug stores.