Objective: This report examines the source and outcome of four Barbadian women with extremely high hair mercury concentrations (361–5617 μg/g inorganic mercury) due to topical application of mercury containing skin-lightening cosmetics.
Methods: Inorganic hair and urine mercury analysis was done at the toxicological centre laboratory of the Institut National de Santé Publique du Québec (Standard Council of Canada accredited). The clinical examinations were performed on location at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital of Barbados.
Results: Urine samples [7–135 μg/L, normal < 2 μg/L] revealed elevated mercury concentrations signifying systemic exposure. Reported symptoms during the clinical examination were consistent but nonspecific to chronic mercury exposure.
Conclusion: Evidently, cosmetics containing dangerous levels of mercury are still available for purchase in Barbados and should be entirely banned.
18 Feb, 2014
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