Mercury OK in mascara?

Minamata Convention treaty exempts mascara from mercury ban

Under the terms of a new global treaty limiting the use of mercury, mascara is exempt, even though certain brands contain mercury as a germ-killer and preservative.

Earlier this month, at the United Nations’ Diplomatic Conference for the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a treaty limiting the use of mercury in certain products was signed by 140 countries, according to Environmental Health News. Under the treaty, some batteries, light bulbs, cosmetics, soaps, medical devices and thermometers will be banned.

Mascara is exempt, the treaty says, because “no effective safe substitute alternatives are available.” However, argued Stacy Malkan, co-founder of advocacy group The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, most companies have already found alternatives, and “a known neurotoxin” should not be allowed in mascara.