The Zero Mercury Working Group (ZMWG) has been investigating mercury-added skin lightening products (SLPs) for several years, primarily due to their health risks, their illegality under many national laws, and the prohibition by the Minamata Convention on Mercury against the manufacture and trade of mercury-added SLPs, which generally became effective in 2021. Between 2018 and 2019, we conducted two separate investigations confirmed continued worldwide availability of illegal SLPs containing high mercury concentrations. In our latest “Skin lighteners still available online despite mercury findings ” report we unveil that in 2022 the problem still persists. There is an urgent need for legal and programmatic reforms to better protect consumers and their families from unsafe, illegal and counterfeit products.
The 2020-2022 ZMWG investigation of SLPs offered by over 40 online platforms, and accessed in 17 countries by our partner NGOs, confirmed yet again that high-mercury SLPs are widely available from a range of popular e-commerce platforms globally. Of the 271 SLPs tested, 129 were found to have mercury levels over 1 ppm.
We also have an Executive Summary available that highlights the main findings.