The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers to avoid using skin care products that contain mercury.
The agency said there have been cases in which people exposed to such products have had mercury poisoning or elevated levels of mercury in their bodies.
Consumers are advised to stop using a product immediately if “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio” or “mercury" are among the ingredients listed on a product label.
FDA said the products are usually marketed as skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles. Adolescents may use these products as acne treatments.
If the ingredients aren’t listed or there is no product label, don’t assume the product is safe. The agency said federal law requires ingredients be listed on the label of any cosmetic or nonprescription drug.
Skin care products that contain mercury are typically manufactured abroad and sold illegally in the U.S. in shops catering to Latino, Asian, African or Middle Eastern communities.
The FDA said consumers should wash their hands and other body parts that have come in contact with products that contain mercury, contact their health care professional and check with their local environmental, health or solid waste agency about how to property dispose of the product.