Skin care products purchased from both Amazon and eBay have been revealed to contain as much as 30,000 times the legal limit of mercury. Despite the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) setting the legal limit of mercury at just one part per million (ppm), research conducted by 51 advocacy groups reveals the nation is at risk every time these skin care products are opened.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a toxic chemical which is naturally found in the air, in water, and in the soil. However, it’s typically added to skin care products aimed at lightening and rejuvenating the skin. Therefore, it’s commonly found in creams and moisturizers which are marketed to improve dark circles, blemishes, and aging or mature skin, Kidney damage is cited as a leading effect of using skin care products containing mercury as it can poison the kidneys and the nervous system. In addition, mercury is also linked to anxiety disorders, depression, and psychosis. It is also known to impair the eyes, lungs, digestive system and nervous system when used for a prolonged period of time.

The risk you face

The average American women wears $8 worth of skin care products every day. Therefore, it’s understandable that millions are enticed by low-cost beauty products sold on sites such as Amazon and eBay. But by purchasing these items from such sites, you’re putting your health and the health of others at significant risk. When you open a skin care product containing mercury, the vapors get into the air and are breathed in by other people and pets. Worryingly, a 2016 study found that adults absorb up to 450 mcg of mercury when applying a single application of a skin care product containing 10,000 ppm of mercury. Meanwhile, when you hop in the shower and wash with such products, the toxins make their way back into the nation’s water supply and exposure becomes more widespread.

Hiding behind another name

Confusingly, manufacturers who use mercury in their skin care products don’t always list mercury on their ingredient list. Instead, they will use one of its aliases, which include Hg, mercuric iodide, mercurous chloride, ammoniated mercury, amide chloride of mercury, quicksilver, cinnabaris, hydrargyri oxydum rubrum, and mercury iodide. Therefore, you should look out for these ingredients before investing in any skin care brand.

Avoiding skin care products containing mercury

Unfortunately, mercury has no identifiable smell or taste, so it can be difficult to determine whether your skin care products are laced with the toxic ingredient. It is, however, advisable to educate yourself on the other names that mercury goes by so that you can scour the list of ingredients on your products. Should you purchase any skin care items which fail to list the ingredients then it’s best to avoid opening the packaging or using the product. For optimum peace of mind, seek out beauty brands that actively promote being mercury and chemical free, such as Acure and Kiss My Face.


Imported skin care ranges

The products purchased from Amazon and eBay from the advocacy groups were imported products. According to EWG, one of the groups involved in the project, the FDA has few resources and authority to regulate cosmetics and skin care products which are imported. This is because the cosmetics section of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act hasn’t been reviewed for 80 years. As a result, an abundance of illegal and dangerous mercury-containing skin care products are being put up for sale on sites such as Amazon and eBay, even though both companies have restricted item policies in place for sellers.

A growing problem

This isn’t the first time that mercury infused skin care products have hit the headlines. In 2014, the California Department of Public Health issued a public health alert following multiple cases of mercury poisoning which were caused by skin creams bought from Mexico. In 2011 and 2016, the Minnesota Department of Health found products for sale which contained 54,000 ppm of mercury. Meanwhile, in April 2018, 12 products imported from Pakistan and Spain to New York were revealed to contain elevated levels of mercury and a health warning was subsequently issued.

Purchasing skin care products from Amazon and eBay and similar sites may be easy and low-cost, but these products could be packed with dangerous levels of mercury. Therefore, in the interest of both your health and public safety, it’s essential you wise up to the acronyms mercury goes by, shop smartly and avoid these toxic products at all costs.