NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- The Mercury Policy Project, along with 50 NGOs from around the globe, sent lettersto Amazon and eBay yesterday calling on them to stop marketing illegal cosmetics. The groups testing identified 19 skin lightening creams sold by these companies that contain illegal mercury levels. Most products had mercury levels thousands of times
"Internet moguls must stop breaking the law and exposing NYC residents and others with their toxic trade in illegal cosmetics," said Michael Bender, Director of the Mercury Policy Project. "At the same time, the FDA must enforce - no matter how big, no one is above the law."
After testing products from the Amazon's website in May, MPP and the Sierra Club lab tested 15 additional creams from the Amazon and eBay websites in September. Products were selected from "government detention lists," including an April 2018 NYC Dept. of Health Press Release.
Of the 15 tested internet creams, 12 had mercury levels often thousands of times above the legal limit, with 4 on the NYC DoH list having the following mercury levels:
The NYC press release stated that the "NYC Health Code prohibits the sale of these toxic personal products" and that "the Health Department is working with businesses to remove the following products from their shelves."
However, while state and local governments are trying to stop sales of illegal cosmetics, they can't stop online marketing. FDA is responsible for enforcing online sales and bipartisan legislation is pending that would empower FDA to do more.
"The products expose communities of color to intense levels of mercury and impact their health outcomes," said Amira Adawe of the Beautywell Project. "We need a strong regulatory system that will hold accountable companies that make and sell skin-lightening products."
Mercury-based cosmetics cause skin damage and pose long-term risks to the brain, nervous system, kidney and immune system. The most serious impacts are exposures during pregnancy, which cause learning, memory and behavior problems during childhood.
"People using mercury-based creams have some of the highest mercury exposures in the country," said Sonya Lunder, of the Sierra Club's Gender, Equity and Environment Program. "Online sales are a key way for these harmful products to reach unsuspecting customers."
Globally, mercury-based cosmetic products are a big business and a new ZMWG global study found dangerously high mercury levels. Due to significant health risks, the new mercury treaty bans the manufacture, import, or export of cosmetics with mercury content above 1 ppm after 2020.
Source: Mercury Policy Project, www.zeromercury.org
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SOURCE Mercury Policy Project
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