• Skin Lightening Cosmetics and Mercury Toxicity

    By Roberta Attanasio Skin lightening cosmetics are popular in many regions of the world — they’re used to lighten darker skin because of their ability to inhibit production of melanin, the substance that gives the skin its color. The active ingredients in some of these cosmetics often include toxic chemicals, as for example hydroquinone, fluorinated corticosteroid and inorganic mercury.   The World Health Organization (WHO) provides interesting facts about the global use of skin lightening cosmetics. In India, 61% of the dermatological market consists of skin lightening products. In Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Togo, 25%, 77%, 27%, 35% and 59% of women, respectively, are reported to use skin lightening products on a…

  • Nail Polish, Painter Syndrome and Hazardous Waste

    By The Editors In a previous post, we talked about the toxic substances that may be present in lipstick.  Now, let’s take a look at nail polish. Nail polish may contain toxic chemicals potentially able to cause poisoning and Painter Syndrome. According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the poisonous ingredients that may be found in nail polish are toluene, butyl acetate, ethyl acetate, and dibutyl phthalate (this list may not be all-inclusive). MedlinePlus states that: “Swallowing or breathing in (inhaling) nail polish may lead to nail polish poisoning. Some people intentionally sniff nail polish to become intoxicated (drunk) by the fumes. Over time these people,…

  • Lipstick and Heavy Metals

    By The Editors Cosmetics are all around us.  They have been used for thousands of years.  Are they safe? Without discussing the general/global issue of cosmetics safety, we want to bring up something about one of the most used cosmetics worldwide:  lipsticks. Although in the last century lipstick use was most prevalent in the Western world, its use is now a global phenomenon.  And now, it seems lipsticks contain a potentially unhealthy dose of toxic heavy metals. What are heavy metals?  They are high atomic weight elements that exhibit, at room temperature, the properties of a metallic substance. Minute amounts of some heavy metals, including cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, vanadium, strontium,…