What are some beauty products that contain thimerosal?


Quick Answer

Thimerosal is a mercury-based preservative which is considered to be very hazardous by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has banned the use of mercury compounds in cosmetics except those used around the eyes, such as mascara. All cosmetics containing mercury compounds are banned in Minnesota.

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Full Answer

Thimerosal is dangerous because it contains mercury, which can be absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the body over time. It can cause allergic reactions, skin irritation and neurotoxicity. Mercury is especially dangerous to the developing brains of fetuses, infants and children. There is evidence that thimerosal contains enough mercury to cause negative effects, but there is not enough data for the FDA to ban all use of thimerosal in cosmetics and vaccines.

In the late 90s and early 2000s, many people believed that the thimerosal in vaccines was causing autism in children. There was no statistically significant evidence of this, but it did cause the revaluation of thimerosal as a preservative and led to reduced usage in cosmetics and vaccines.

As of 2015, few products contain any thimerosal. It is only commonly found in mascara, ophthalmic and otic suspensions, some nasal sprays, and some vaccines. Mercury compounds in these products are also limited to 65 parts per million.

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