Scientists opt for UK technology to determine toxins in imported cosmetics

By Michelle Yeomans

- Last updated on GMT

Scientists opt for UK technology to determine toxins in imported cosmetics

Related tags Cosmetics

US Researchers reveal they have opted for UK based Seward’s specialist technology to detect the presence of mercury in imported skin care products.

With presence in Europe, the US and Singapore, Seward says technology is highly applicable to the industry as it reckons although mercury in cosmetic products such as face creams has been illegal for many years, it can still be found on occasion in imported products.

Thus, scientists at San Francisco State University, California Department of Public Health and the FDA have chosen its Stomacher 80 micro​Biomaster to compare XRF, TXRF and ICP-MS methods to determine the presence of mercury in face creams.

Tried and tested

The Stomacher paddle blender range is said to be invaluable for safe and efficient sample processing in microbiological analyses. According to Seward, the technology is extensively used in R&D areas, as well as in small scale production of topical therapeutic and cosmetic product development.

In the study carried out by US scientists, the technology was used to prepare samples for new pathogen test protocols, to produce a calibration curve for a technique applying X-Ray fluorescence.

Thereafter, measured quantities of mercury sulphide were suspended in a Carbomer 940 matrix, an emulsion designed to suspend particulate materials and homogenised using the Stomacher whereby the experts say; “the results of the programme fully supported the methodology developed for product screening​.”

Seward continues to develop the Stomacher product range which has been on the market for over 30 years, while also offering the service of method development through reference searches and sample evaluations within its own development laboratory.

Elevated mercury levels...

In March, the FDA uncovered skin care products containing unacceptable mercury levels in at least seven states in the US that were being marketed as “skin lighteners and anti-aging treatments that remove age spots, freckles, blemishes and wrinkles."

Investigations in the past few years by the Association and state health officials have turned up more than 35 products that contain unacceptable levels of mercury, linking the illegal products to those being manufactured abroad and sold illegally.

According to the association, Virginia, Maryland and New York are amongst the states that have seen cases of elevated mercury levels in people exposed to skin products containing mercury, while in Minnesota, 11 of 27 imported skin products taken from store shelves were said to contain mercury.














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