Extensive testing by the Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) in 2019 (revised March 2022), again confirms that local markets and also internet platforms, such as Amazon and eBay (along with many other online internet marketers worldwide), are selling toxic, dangerous and often illegal skin-lighteners that have been already identified by many governments around the world as over the legal limit.
In our most recent testing study, “Dangerous, mercury-laden and often illegal skin-lightening products: Readily available for (online) purchase,” the collection of samples was carried out by members of the ZMWG in 12 countries. 158 samples were bought from both shops and large e-commerce platforms and 95 of them were found to violate the limit of one part per million (ppm) of mercury that many countries and the Minamata Convention have fixed as a legal limit.
Products with above one ppm mercury had mercury contents that ranged from 40 ppm to over 130,000 ppm. Nine creams (or 9.5%) had mercury contents exceeding 100,000 times the allowed limit established in the Minamata Convention. Sixty-five of the non-compliant creams (or 68%) were bought online.