Thursday, February 14, 2008

Heavy Metal Makeup

If you’re a knuckle-dragging Cro-Magnon like me, you’ve probably waited impatiently for your wife or girlfriend to finish getting ready before you both head out to dinner. You’ve growled at the bathroom door, thinking, “What on Earth is she doing in there? What’s taking so long?”

Well, Mr. Caveman, she’s going through her checklist. Foundation and powder, check. Mascara, check. Eye shadow, check. Lipstick, check. Mercury, check.

Waitaminnit – MERCURY?! That’s right, MERCURY.

Mercury is sometimes used as a preservative and germ-killer in a wide range of cosmetics, including soap, mascara, eye-liner and creams. It is the active ingredient in some foreign-made skin-whitening creams. Back in 1995 and 1996, skin creams containing mercury were found to have poisoned three people in Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. In 2002, women in Hong Kong panicked after a skin-whitening cream was found to contain 9,000-65,000 times the maximum allowed mercury dosage. A 2005 study by the Mercury Policy Project found that mercury frequently appeared in cosmetics used in Africa, and a quarter to a third of women used those cosmetics in several countries. Shockingly, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration actually allows mercury in eye-area cosmetics so long as its levels do not exceed 65 parts per million.

Last month, Minnesota became the first state in the U.S. to ban all cosmetic products containing mercury. And Maryland could follow suit. New District 18 Delegate Al Carr has introduced House Bill 587 (co-sponsored by Delegates Braveboy, Gutierrez, Howard, Hucker, Krysiak, Kullen, Lee, Manno, Mizeur, Montgomery, Stukes and Waldstreicher), which would ban the sale, offer for sale or distribution of all cosmetic products containing any mercury in the state.

Come on you guys, is it really worth it? If we can’t eat it, can’t drink it, can’t inhale it, can’t use it in our thermometers, then is it OK to spread it all over our bodies? This bill is a total no-brainer and it has to pass on the first go.

But if it doesn’t, at least all that mercury should cut down on those pesky botox fees.

(We would like to thank District 18 Breakfast Goddess Susan Heltemes for sharing this with us. Susan doesn’t need mercury to look her best at our breakfasts!)

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