Mercury-Based Cosmetics Health Hazard

The protest is part of a coordinated global campaign against the growing health hazard in Cosmetic products.4 min


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A coalition of over 50 civil society organizations (CSOs), from more than 20 countries, have urged Amazon and eBay – to stop marketing “dangerous and illegal mercury-based skin lightening creams.”

The protest is part of a coordinated global campaign against the growing health hazard in Cosmetic products.

Recently, the groups have reached out to the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA), the United Nations, the World Health Organization (WHO) and INTERPOL.

Michael Bender, International Coordinator of the Zero Mercury Working Group, told E-commerce moguls to “stop breaking the law with toxic trade in illegal cosmetics”.

“Amazon and eBay have the responsibility and resources to prevent exposing their customers to this dangerous neurotoxin,” he added.

The CSOs have identified 19 skin products sold by these two companies that contain illegal mercury levels — even as the use of these products are skyrocketing globally, including in Africa.

Since 1973, the FDA has warned against using cosmetics with over 1ppm mercury and detailed the risks. And mercury is known to state, federal and international agencies as toxic and harmful to human health.

In a letter to Jeff Bezos, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Amazon, the groups say: “We strongly urge Amazon to self-police its website to ensure that cosmetics found to have mercury levels over 1 part per million (ppm) are no longer offered for sale to your customers worldwide.”

In a letter to Devin Newig , president and CEO of eBay, the groups say the products advertised for sale on the e-Bay website are “unpermitted and illegal”.

The protest has taken added relevance against the backdrop of the upcoming second meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Minamata Convention on Mercury (COP2), which is taking place 19-23rd of November in Geneva,Switzerland.

The Minamata Convention is an international treaty which has been signed by 128 UN member states and ratified by the legislatures of 101 countries.

Skin lightening products — known as “bleaching creams,” “whiteners,” “skin brighteners,” or “fading creams” — work when inorganic Mercury salts (e.g. 1-10% ammoniated mercury) inhibit the formation of melanin, resulting in a lighter skin tone.

Note: Please discontinue the use of mercury-based Cosmetics!.


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