HomeNewsGlobal Online Retailers Accused of Selling Banned Mercury-Laden Cosmetics

Global Online Retailers Accused of Selling Banned Mercury-Laden Cosmetics

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A recent Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) report has revealed that despite a global ban, mercury-laden skin-lightening products (SLPs) are still being sold online by some of the world’s largest retailers. The report further proves that these hazardous SLPs are widely available globally.

Michael Bender, coordinator at ZMWG, expressed concern over mercury cosmetics’ continued proliferation and online sales. He highlighted the potential impact of an amendment proposed by the African region to the Minamata Convention, which could help prevent online marketing of illegal SLPs.

The report is based on purchases made by NGO partners across 12 countries from 23 online platforms. Of the 213 suspect SLPs purchased, 191 (90 percent) contained mercury concentrations ranging from 1.18 to 74,800.00 ppm. This is significantly above the 1 ppm limit set for cosmetics by many governments and the Minamata Convention.

The African amendment aims to strengthen existing convention provisions by prohibiting the manufacture and trade of all “mercury-added cosmetics.” It also seeks to curtail the merchandising of mercury-added SLPs and enhance public awareness about their hazards.

Leslie Adogame, executive director at Sustainable Research and Action for Environmental Development (SRADeV Nigeria), called for regulatory agencies to commit to implementing the Minamata Convention and enforcing a zero-tolerance level for mercury in cosmetics.

Rico Euripidou, campaign coordinator at groundWork in South Africa, praised the African region’s leadership in phasing out mercury in products. He described toxic cosmetics as a global mercury crisis warranting coordinated international collaboration.

Mercury lightens the skin by suppressing melanin production and can remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. However, it can lead to rashes, skin discoloration, and blotching and can be absorbed through the skin, inhaled, or ingested.

The report recommends that they regulate mercury compounds and make them subject to trade restrictions. Charline Cheuvart, mercury policy officer at the European Environmental Bureau, expressed hope that the amendment will help complement and strengthen the current treatyonce approved.

Despite these challenges, there is hope that we can progress towards a safer and healthier future with increased awareness and stricter regulations.

Source: BusinessDay

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