reports of zero mercury working group
Dangerous, mercury laden and often illegal skin lightening products:
With the ultimate objective of ‘Zero’ emissions, demand and supply of mercury, from all sourcesand reducing to a minimum mercury in the environment at EU level and globally, ZMWG hasinitiated Zero Mercury Campaign project. Under this project ZMWG trying to phase out themercury from skin whitening creams. In 2017 and 2018, ZMWG had conducted an internationalsurvey collecting and then analyzing 338 skin-lightening products from 22 countries. 34 creams(10% of the samples) had mercury concentrations ranging from 93 to 16,353 parts per million(ppm). In some countries the percentage of sampled creams exceeding the 1 ppm limit formercury was especially high. In 2019, 158 samples were collected by NGOs in 12 countries:Bangladesh (16); Belgium (18); Djibouti (18), India (17); Côte d’Ivoire (5); Kenya (13); Nigeria (9);the Philippines (11); South Africa (11); Uganda (11); the United Kingdom (UK) (5) and the USA(24). Analysis of these samples confirmed that 95 of the 158 products purchased containedmore than 1 ppm mercury.
Enforcement measures to restrict high mercury cosmetic products under the Minamata Convention :
To elements for improving enforcement of the Minamata Convention provisions for banningcosmetic products with mercury levels over 1 ppm ZMWG has released a report on“Enforcement measures to restrict high mercury cosmetic products under the MinamataConvention”. This report provides a menu of tools and measures that could potentially serve asexamples for complying with the cosmetic provisions under the Minamata Convention.
Mercury in skin-care products in India and consumer exposure risks:
Mercury is used in skin lightening products as a skin-bleaching agent, as it inhibits melanin production and as a preservative in other cosmetics such as hand and body creams and lotions, ‘bleaches’ and possibly others products. However, mercury is highly toxic and is a hazard to users of skin-lightening products, as well as to their families because the home environment can also become contaminated.Furthermore, mercury in cosmetics is released to the environment as products are rinsed off, and mercury can also evaporate from the products and contaminate indoor air. There are several research studies representing the availability of highly laded mercury in such skin cosmetics. The recent study by Pramanik S et.al., 2021 have reported the higher mercury concentration in imported cream products as high as 9249 ppm.
Presence of Mercury in Skin Whitening Creams:
The study titled “Dark truth of skin whitening creams: Presence of Mercury in skin whitening creams” highlights the presence of mercury in skin whitening creams. The study, which access samples from Vijayawada, Mumbai, Delhi, and Tiruvandpuram, found high concentrations of mercury ranging from 4000 to 14000 ppm in imported brands despite the stringent regulation of unintentional presence upto 1ppm under the Drugs and Cosmetics Rule 2020. The study also highlights the need to address the liability of the online platforms which is currently lacking in the country.