April 16th, 2012
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Fairness creams can cause brain, kidney and liver damage

fairness-creamNew Delhi: Fair & Lovely that is available in the market are highly toxic and can cause liver, kidney, and brain damage.  Though the skin lightening cream sold in Saudi was supposed to contain 0.304+/-0.316 microg/g of Mercury which is below the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permissible limits, its toxicity was capable of causing histopathological changes in the brain, kidney, and liver tissues.

Research was conducted on white mice to understand the side effects of Fair and Lovely. The cream was applied on mice for a period of 1 month at different intervals. Mercury levels were measured in the liver, kidney, and brain tissue samples of a total of 75 adult female CD1 mice by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer coupled to a Vapor Generator Accessory. The mean mercury concentrations in the tissues of the treated mice were 0.193+/-0.319 microg/g; whereas for the control group, it was 0.041 microg/g+/-0.041microg/g. While the kidney was found to have the highest mercury content, the brain was found to have the lowest content. Treated mice showed a significant reduction in body weight.

Though mercury and mercury salts, including mercurous chloride and mercurous oxide, are prohibited for use in cosmetic products as skin-lightening agents because of their high toxicity, most manufacturers continue to use them in skin lightening products. The rate of dermal absorption increases with the concentration of mercury and prior hydration of the skin. After absorption, inorganic mercury is distributed widely and elimination occurs primarily through the urine and feces. Inorganic mercury gets deposited mainly in the kidneys causing renal damage includes reversible proteinuria, acute tubular necrosis and nephrotic syndrome. Prolonged exposure can result in central nervous system (CNS) accumulation and neurotoxicity.


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