Manufacturer HAZ Afro Cosmetics Ltd have issued a recall in relation to Dr James UV Whitening Cream following reports that the product contains mercury. HAZ Afro Cosmetics Ltd believes batches sold between 01/03/2011-present are likely to be affected. Customers have been urged to stop using the product and return it to the retailer for a full refund.

Mercury cosmetics were commonly used as a skin lightening products before it was banned from use in cosmetic products in the European Union in 1976. It is illegal to manufacture mercury cosmetics in the UK even for exports to other countries regardless of whether there is a ban in the country that the product is to be delivered to.

Mercury is an element that can exist in many compound forms and case studies have shown that exposure to sufficiently high concentrations may result in adverse reactions from skin irritation to neurotoxicity. Scientific literature concerning the impact of mercury compounds also suggest that if sufficiently high concentrations of mercury enter the body it may cause extreme fatigue and memory loss as well as a noticeable change in your senses including eyesight and taste. Some studies also show a link between mercury compounds and severe vomiting and kidney damage.

Cosmetic skin lightening products containing mercury is simply an illegal cosmetic.

Meera Lachani, who represents clients who have suffered from injuries relating to cosmetic products says, ‘European legislation (Cosmetics Regulation (EC) No. 1223/2009) clearly sets out what is considered safe for use in cosmetic products and the purpose of this legislation is to protect consumers from harm. The legislation makes clear that the manufacturer/supplier of the cosmetic product is responsible for ensuring that it meets the safety standards required including a responsibility for ensuring that banned substances do not form part of the product.’