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Don’t Trash That Cosmetic

DTSC Warns about Proper Disposal of Dangerous Skin Lightening Creams
Containing Mercury

The California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) advises the public that anyone possessing dangerous face cream products suspected to contain mercury should dispose of them at a local household hazardous waste facility. The California Department of Public Health recently issued a Health Alert about those skin lightening face creams from Mexico and other countries that contain enough mercury to cause health problems.

These products are used to lighten skin color, fade freckles and age
spots, remove wrinkles, and treat acne. Many of these products are in
unlabeled containers or have containers that say “mercury†, “mercurio†, or “calomel†(mercurous chloride) on the label.

Mercury can be highly toxic to humans. It can cause nerve damage like
tremors, memory loss, weight loss, and fatigue. Mercury can damage
kidneys causing kidney failure.

Products containing mercury, like face creams, should be disposed of
at a local household hazardous waste facility to keep mercury from
leaching into groundwater from a land fill. Disposing of hazardous waste
properly helps to reduce the amount of mercury and other toxic metals in the environment.

A list of contact information for local household hazardous waste
collection program can be found at:
http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/HazardousWaste/UniversalWaste/upload/HHW_Llist_PUBLIC.pdf

The Californian Department of Public Health alert can be found at
http://www.dtsc.ca.gov/ContactDTSC/upload/CDPH_Health-Alert.pdf

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