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Posts Tagged → Peauclaire

Skin-bleaching: got mercury?

Not this Mercury (who is actually Liberty misattributed as Mercury) Credit: FunTimesGuide.

The Minnesota Health Department yesterday issued a warning that skin-lightening cosmetic products sold in the area contain concentrations of inorganic mercury high enough to warrant their disposal as hazardous chemical waste.

Details on the warning can be found in this Star Tribune article by Maura Lerner with intern Alejandra Matos (hurray for summer student interns!).

State technicians tested 27 products, including 23 creams and four soaps, and found that 11 had mercury levels ranging from 135 to 33,000 parts per million. Federal law permits only “trace amounts,” less than 1 part per million.

Ramsey County officials said they became suspicious about the lightening creams when a staffer came across a blog about the mercury dangers.

The staffer, who worked with immigrant groups, knew the creams were popular among Somalis and others and thought it was worth checking out, said Zachary Hansen, the county’s director of environmental health.

Skin-lightening creams are popular in African nations as well as in some Asian cultures. A truly excellent 2008 review from a group of clinical dermatologists at the University of Lagos College of Medicine appeared in the International Journal of Dermatology.

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