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HHS HealthBeat (August 14, 2012)

Mercury poisoning linked to skin products

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From the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, I’m Cam Boyce with HHS HealthBeat.

Mercury has been found in some skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, or lotions that are made overseas and sold illegally in the U.S. Mercury is toxic and exposure can have serious health consequences.

If you see the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,” stop using the product immediately.

If there is no label or there are no ingredients listed, do not use the product.

Linda Katz, of the Food and Drug Administration:

“Even though these products are promoted as cosmetics, they also may be unapproved new drugs under the law.”

If you suspect you have been using a product with mercury, stop using it immediately. Thoroughly wash your hands and any other parts of your body that have come in contact with the product.

Learn more at

HHS HealthBeat is a production of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. I’m Cam Boyce.

Last revised: August 15, 2012