Love thy skin to avoid mercury-laced skin products – group
MANILA, Philippines — The best way to avoid skin products containing mercury, a toxic chemical, is to embrace one’s natural skin color, a health and chemical safety advocacy group said Thursday.
“Accepting our natural skin tone is the cheapest and safest way to safeguard our women from hazardous substances like mercury in some skin whitening cosmetics,” said EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon in a statement.
“It‘s time to shun colorism and racism, and affirm that natural is beautiful,” he added.
Dizon expressed concern over the marketing of whitening products, saying it adds to the “prejudice or discrimination against people, particularly women, with dark skin tone.”
The group warned the public against skin products containing an undisclosed amount of mercury.
Citing the Asean Cosmetic Directive and the Minamata Convention on Mercury, EcoWaste noted that the permissible amount of mercury in skin products should not exceed one part per million (ppm).
However, some products being sold have mercury in excess of 1,000 up to 25,000 ppm. The group said it found several cosmetics being sold online from China, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan, and Thailand with very high levels of mercury.
“Exposure to mercury in cosmetics can cause skin rashes, discoloration and scarring, lessen skin’s resistance to bacterial and mycotic skin disorders, and damage the kidneys, the brain, and the central nervous system,” EcoWaste said.
The group advised the public to heed the following suggestions to prevent mercury exposure:
1. Take pride in your natural skin tone.
2. If a “fairer” skin tone is really preferred, opt for mercury-safe products that are authorized by the health authorities.
3. Insist on your right to truthful information, including full disclosure of a product’s chemical content.
4. Carefully read the product label and reject products with zero or incomplete labels or with information in foreign characters.
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