LONDON (CBS Atlanta) – Asia is considered the biggest market for cosmetics, and skin whitening creams are extremely popular.
Now an Indian study warns that most of the lotions, called “fairness creams,” says many of them contain high levels of toxic heavy metals.
The country’s Centre for Science and Environment tested the creams as well as anti-ageing products, lipsticks and lip balms for mercury, lead, chromium and nickel.
Their tests found mercury in nearly half of fairness creams.
Mercury is highly poisonous and can be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream.
Chromium and nickel, both carcinogens, were found in about half of lipsticks.
While many of the brands are sold exclusively in India, international brands, like Olay, Ponds and Lancombe were represented, according to the Hindustan Times.