The Health Department is warning New York City residents about 10 skin-lightening creams from Pakistan and two medicated soaps from Spain that contain up to 14,000 times the allowable limit for mercury in cosmetics.
Exposure to mercury can cause serious and life-threatening health problems including damage to the nervous system and kidneys, and can harm the fetus if used by a pregnant woman, increasing the risk of a miscarriage.
The Health Department has sent an alert to health care providers in New York City to advise patients against using such products and it recommends that New Yorkers immediately stop using all skin-lightening creams and medicated soaps that list mercury as an ingredient.
However, mercury is not always a listed ingredient and patients should ask their doctor if they are using non-prescription products to lighten their skin or for skin disorders.
The New York City Health Code prohibits the sale of such toxic personal products thus the Health Department is working with businesses to remove the following products from their shelves:
- Due Beauty Cream made by Kreative Cosmetics (Pvt) Ltd.
- Sandal Whitening Beauty Cream made by MMC Cosmetics, Pakistan
- Chandni Whitening Cream made by SJ Enterprises, Pakistan
- Golden Pearl Beauty Cream made by Golden Pearl Cosmetics
- Face Fresh Beauty Cream made by Shaheen Cosmetics, Pakistan
- Faiza No. 1 Beauty Cream made by A.M. Cosmetics (Pak), Pakistan
- Faiza Beauty Cream made by Poonia Brothers (Pak), Pakistan
- Seven Herbal Ubtan Cream made by C.P.H.L.
- Stillman’s Freckle Cream and Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream made in Pakistan under license from the Stillman Company, Inc., USA
- Niuma Medicated Antiseptic Soap made by Niuma Belleza, Spain
- Niuma Lemon Medicated Germicidal Soap made by Niuma Belleza, Spain
For those who have already been affected or may be at risk, the Health Department advises them to:
- Immediately stop using all skin-lightening creams and medicated soaps that list mercury as an ingredient.
- Tell your health care provider if you are using non-prescription products to lighten skin or for skin disorders.
- Call 311 to report locations where these products are sold.
- Call 212-POISONS (212-764-7667) or visit http://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/health/healthtopics/mercury.page for additional information.