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Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2010 Jan;84(1):8-14. doi: 10.1007/s00128-009-9867-5. Epub 2009 Sep 30.

Heavy metal exposure from personal care products.

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Department of Chemistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria.


Numerous studies have described human exposure to heavy metals from diverse sources in Nigeria, but little is known about the exposure from personal care products, and few or no report is available on the personal care product concentrations of cadmium, chromium, copper and zinc, which have biotic effects. The levels of these elements were determined in 74 samples of 5 different classes of personal care products commonly used in Nigeria using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Significant levels of Cd, Cr, Cu and Zn were found in all the products. The highest values of Cd (0.553 ppm) and Cu (0.783 ppm) were observed in hair cream, while medicated cream was mostly implicated for Cr (0.383 ppm) and Zn (0.793 ppm). Since no limit relating to cosmetic products is available, it is difficult to ascertain if the values of metals obtained in this study are too high or low; but Cd and Cr are prohibited in any amount in cosmetics. Prolonged use of soaps and creams containing these elements may pose threat to human health and the environment.

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