Amazon, eBay among websites found selling illegal mercury-laced skin lighteners.
- In Bangladesh, Daraz-a leading online shopping site is selling illegal mercury containing (934.33-116600 ppm Hg) skin lightening creams
- 158 products tested in 12 countries: 60% contained too much mercury
- Some products had tens of thousands of times more mercury than legal limit
- International coalition of NGOs urge governments to end ‘toxic trade’
Skin lightening creams containing mercury – a heavy metal and dangerous neurotoxin – are still widely available to purchase in shops and online, despite being banned by governments. That’s the finding of new research by a global alliance of NGOs working to eliminate mercury pollution.
Testing throughout 2019, revealed 95 of the 158 products purchased in the 12 sampling countries exceeded the legal limit of 1 ppm (part per million), with mercury levels ranging from 40 ppm to over 130,000 ppm.
More than two-thirds (65 of the 95) of those were bought online from such internet marketers as Amazon, eBay, BidorBuy, Lazada, Daraz, Flipkart and Jumia[see table below] .
Yesterday (Thursday) 12 December, in a press briefing this information was disclosed at Environment and Social Development Organization-ESDO Head Office, Lalmatia, Dhaka. ESDO organized this press briefing.
Dr. Shahriar Hossain from Environment and Social Development Organisation (ESDO) Bangladesh said:
“These hazardous and illegal products pose a serious mercury exposure risk, especially to repeat users and their children. We welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with the authorities to stop the toxic trade in high mercury skin lightening creams.”
Among others Dr. Prof. Abul Hashem, Former Chairperson and Professor-Department of Chemistry, Jahangirnagar University and Senior Technical Adviser, ESDO; Prof. Abu Jafar Mahmood, Former Professor-Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka and Principle Technical Adviser-ESDO; Dr. Masud Iqbal Md. Shameem, PhD, Director-Department of Environment (DoE), Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Dr. Greg Howard, Senior Research Fellow, ESDO and Siddika Sultana, Executive Director, ESDO were also present in the press briefing.