Is There a Link between Skin Products and Mercury Poisoning?

Posted on: Friday, October 21st, 2016


Thanks to the rise in holistic medicine, many Americans are coming to realize that amalgam fillings containing mercury pose significant threats to overall health and wellness. Unfortunately, the threat of mercury isn’t limited to dental fillings. The Consumer Health Department of the FDA recently released a warning that many common skin products are also linked to mercury poisoning in the body.

Mercury: A Poisonous Substance

Despite being a natural element found in the earth’s crust, mercury is a heavy metal that can cause serious, long term health problems. Unfortunately, the United States government didn’t realize this until late into the 20th century, and it wasn’t until the 1990 Clean Air Act that the first steps toward controlling mercury exposure finally came to fruition.

The effects of mercury in the body cannot be understated. Scientific research now shows that mercury can have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive, and immune systems, as well as on the lungs, kidneys, skin, and eyes. Symptoms often include irritability, tremors, memory problems, numbness, depression, and changes in vision and hearing. The World Health Organization also warns the public that even small amounts of mercury can cause developmental problems for children in the womb and newborn babies.

Skin Products Tainted With Mercury

Despite everything we know about the dangers of mercury, a large number of popular cosmetics actually contain mercury, especially cosmetics labeled as “anti-aging”, “skin-lightening”, and “anti-acne” products. There are five main ingredients that indicate the presence of mercury: mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio, and, of course, mercury. Though the FDA bans such products, they are typically manufactured abroad and sold illegally in online and through mobile apps.

Take Steps to Protect You and Your Family

Unfortunately, mercury is incredibly easy to become exposed to. Arthur Simone, a senior medical advisor at the FDA, explains that “Your family might breathe mercury vapors released from these products. Your children might touch washcloths or towels that are contaminated with mercury. It could be as simple as touching someone’s cheek or face.”

The best way to protect yourself from these products is to simply not buy them at all. Stay away from any products that lack ingredients labels, since federal law in the United States requires that ingredients be listed on the label of any cosmetic or nonprescription drug. If the ingredients are listed in a foreign language, but not English, you should also avoid that product. It’s also wise to wash your hands on a regular basis, especially after coming in contact with something that may contain mercury.

Mercury poisoning is a serious issue, and preventative steps can save you and your family a great deal of misery.

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