"Some Skin Whitening Creams Contain Toxic Mercury, Testing Finds"

"Some creams promising to lighten skin, eliminate age spots and zap freckles  contain high levels of mercury, a toxic metal that can cause severe health problems, a Tribune investigation has found.

The newspaper sent 50 skin-lightening creams to a certified lab for testing, most of them bought in Chicago stores and a few ordered online. Six were found to contain amounts of mercury banned by federal law.

Of those, five had more than 6,000 parts per million — enough to potentially cause kidney damage over time, according to a medical expert.

The Food and Drug Administration banned mercury in skin-bleaching or lightening products in 1990, but the agency rarely tests the products to see if consumers are at risk. The Tribune's tests — among only a handful ever conducted — show that tainted products are still readily available."

Ellen Gabler and Sam Roe report for the Chicago Tribune May 18, 2010.


Source: Chicago Tribune, 05/20/2010