As I entered the office today, I overheard a couple of our product specialists buzzing about this local skin whitening product. At first I thought it was just another typical story of how effective it was or the price of it or you know, more of the advantages of the product. However, it was a bit more interesting than what I expected. my colleagues started it out as a blind item saying “have you heard of this popular brand that claims how effective their product is, and instead makes use of mercury and deceives their customers? It is being endorsed now by a famous local actress and you can even see the adds in all TV networks and billboards elsewhere”. As we entered the rooms, they mentioned that this product does not actually whiten, instead contains ammoniated mercury which harms the skin rather than improves human skin. This is when I thought of sharing in a new article on how dangerous mercury is to human skin.
Below is a few data which I was able to associate in relation with this issue:
Many of the early skin-bleaching commodities such as Nodinalina skin bleaching cream, a product which has been in the US market since 1889, contained 10 per cent ammoniated mercury. Mercury is a highly toxic agent with serious health implications. According to Kathy Peiss , in 1930, a single survey found advertising for 232 different brand names of skin-bleaching creams promoted in mainstream magazines to mainly white women consumers in the United States.
Cosmetics with mercury will deliver common symptoms such as peripheral neuropathy or the feeling of itching, burning, or pain on your skin. It can also cause skin discoloration; swelling and dead skin peels off in layers.
It can profuse sweating and even worse, it can faster your heart beat and blood pressure. The symptoms also involve muscle weakness, kidney disfunction and neuropsychiatric symptoms such as emotional lability, memory impairment and insomnia.
Industries still arguing that while mercury is hazardous at high levels, the quantities found in cosmetics are not sufficient to present those risks.
A more dangerous case is when a woman who is a regular user of cosmetic that contains mercury is pregnant, because it can retard brain development in children and fetuses.
Mercury fumes accumulated inside your cosmetic tube or jar, it will be a potential toxic exposure if someone inhales the fumes. The best solution to avoid this problem is carefully choose a cosmetic and report it if you found a product that contains mercury.
The symptoms of mercury poisoning can also include:
– impairment of peripheral vision
– disturbances in sensations – that ‘pins and needles’ feeling as well as numbness – usually in the hands feet and sometimes around the mouth
– lack of coordination of movements, such as writing
– impairment of speech, hearing, walking
– muscle weakness
– skin rashes
– mood swing, memory loss, and mental disturbances
Coming into contact with too much mercury this way can damage a growing brain, harming the way unborn and young children will be able to think and learn. It can also harm anyone’s heart, kidneys, lungs, and immune system.
FDA officials in Thailand collected cosmetic products from various shops in Bangkok’s Sam Pheng and Pahurat areas for testing and found that 57 brands – most not registered with the FDA – had prohibited substances, FDA secretary-general Siriwat Thiptaradol told a press conference on Friday.
The harmful substances included hydroquinone, retinoic acid and ammoniated mercury. These could cause severe skin irritation, white spots, incurable melasma and could harm the foetus in pregnant women, Siriwat said.
Siriwat urged consumers, especially women with a melasma problem, not to buy products that did not identify their source and manufacturing date.
The list of banned cosmetics is available at www.fda.moph.go.th.
The FDA is also pushing for the punishment for manufacturers, importers and sellers of unsafe cosmetics to be increased to five years’ imprisonment and a fine up to Bt500,000, he said.
The current punishment is up to one year in jail or a Bt60,000 fine.
One way to determine if your cosmetic product contains mercury:
You can check it out by applying the product on your palm and rub it with something made from golden.
If it turns to gray, it means the product contains mercury. The darker the color is; the higher level of mercury contained by the product.
Again, we have to take precautions when purchasing these type of products. Especially if our health is on the line. I’m just wondering, why hasn’t the local government done anything to verify if products are safe or not? I mean, the Philippines should conduct random tests annually on the numerous products we now have for skin whitening. In that way, we have the assurance that our products are indeed mercury-free.