Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Global Ban on Mercury Exempts Mascara and Eye Makeup

Health + Wellness

Mercury was banned in cosmetics and soaps by a recently signed global treaty at the Minamata Convention. But mascara and other eye makeup were exempted.

Mercury is used in trace amounts in eye makeup as a preservative. The treaty exempts eye area cosmetics from the list because “no effective, safe substitute alternatives are available,” according to the signed treaty.

Trace amounts of mercury are used in mascara as a preservative.
Photo credit: Shutterstock

The Minamata Convention for Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of mercury and is designed to limit mercury use and emissions internationally. The treaty was agreed to on Oct. 10 after four years of negotiations and was signed by delegates of about 140 nations.

The United Nations Environment Programme says the intent of the ban is to eliminate cosmetics like skin-lightening cream and others that contain large concentrations of mercury and have been shown to cause kidney damage in women. 

Joanna Tempowski, a scientist for the World Health Organization’s International Program on Chemical Safety told Environmental Health News that mercury is added to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi that could infect and damage the eye, noting that “the risk-benefit analysis favors the use of these preservatives.”

The Food and Drug Administration allows mercury in eye cosmetics at concentrations of up to 65 parts per million. 

Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Database provides practical solutions for people to protect themselves and their family from everyday exposures to chemicals. Environmental Working Group launched Skin Deep in 2004 to create online safety profiles for cosmetics and personal care products on more than 78,000 items.

Mascara brands without mercury sometimes use other harmful preservatives, such as formaldehyde (a carcinogenic) or parabens (which may be linked to hormone disruption), according to the database.

Want to find some chemical- and cruelty-free mascaras? Here's a list complied by One Green Planet:

1. Beauty Without Cruelty

A full-volume mascara that helps to define and separate each individual lash, it is long-lasting and smudge-resistant.

2. Ecco Bella

This mascara is gentle and water-resistant (but not waterproof) and perfect for sensitive eyes. In addition it is easy to remove and comes with its own mirror.

3. e.l.f.

This clump-free and quick-drying mascara helps to achieve fuller, longer and thicker lashes without flaking or smudging.

4. Emani Minerals

A natural soy-based mascara, it nourishes, repairs and strengthens lashes. It is especially long-lasting and smudge-resistant, and is easy to remove.

5. Gabriel Cosmetics

This mascara is gentle and non-irritating, enriched with herbal extracts and minerals to help protect eyelashes. It is all-natural and is suitable for use by contact lens wearers and those with sensitive eyes.

6. Honeybee Gardens

This botanically-enriched mascara is long-lasting, providing all-day colour without clumping, flakingor smudging. In addition it is water-resistant, but not waterproof.

7. Lavera

A lengthening and volumizing mascara, this helps to nourish eyelashes with extracts of organic jojoba and wild rose oils. It offers long-lasting colour and volume, without flaking or smudging.

8. Larenim

This mascara contains jojoba oil, minerals and vitamin E to enhance lash growth. It defines and separates each lash, and is perfect for those with sensitive eyes.

9. Organic Wear

Helping to create dramatic, full and thick lashes this mascara is 100 percent natural. It doesn’t clump, flake or smudge and is long-lasting, coating lashes without breaking or drying them out.

10. 100% Pure

An excellent 100 percent natural mascara that lengthens, separates and thickens lashes with fruit and tea pigments. Suitable for those who wear contact lenses or have sensitive eyes, it is also smudge- and water-resistant.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

Dominion Resources' coal-fired power plant located in central Virginia beside the James River. Edbrown05 / CC BY-SA 2.5

Corporations that flouted environmental regulations and spewed pollutants into the air and dumped them into waterways will not be required to pay the fines they agreed to during the pandemic, according to The Guardian.

Read More Show Less
The Ministry of Trade issued a regulation revoking its decision from February to no longer require Indonesian timber companies to obtain export licenses that certify the wood comes from legal sources. BAY ISMOYO / AFP / Getty Images

By Hans Nicholas Jong

The Indonesian government has backed down from a decision to scrap its timber legality verification process for wood export, amid criticism from activists and the prospect of being shut out of the lucrative European market.

Read More Show Less

Viruses, pollution and warming ocean temperatures have plagued corals in recent years. The onslaught of abuse has caused mass bleaching events and threatened the long-term survival of many ocean species. While corals have little chance of surviving through a mass bleaching, a new study found that when corals turn a vibrant neon color, it's in a last-ditch effort to survive, as CBS News reported.

Read More Show Less
Harmful algal blooms, seen here at Ferril Lake in Denver, Colorado on June 30, 2016, are increasing in lakes and rivers across the U.S. Helen H. Richardson / The Denver Post / Getty Images

During summer in central New York, residents often enjoy a refreshing dip in the region's peaceful lakes.

But sometimes swimming is off-limits because of algae blooms that can make people sick.

Read More Show Less
A group of doctors prepared to treat coronavirus patients in Brazil. SILVIO AVILA / AFP via Getty Images

More than 40 million doctors and nurses are in, and they are prescribing a green recovery from the economic devastation caused by the new coronavirus.

Read More Show Less
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) and Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte shake hands during an event to launch the United Nations' Climate Change conference, COP26, in central London on February 4, 2020. CHRIS J RATCLIFFE / POOL / AFP / Getty Images

The U.K. government has proposed delaying the annual international climate negotiations for a full year after its original date to November 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Read More Show Less

Trending

The Upcycled Food Association announced on May 19 that they define upcycled foods as ones that "use ingredients that otherwise would not have gone to human consumption, are procured and produced using verifiable supply chains, and have a positive impact on the environment." Minerva Studio / Getty Images

By Jared Kaufman

Upcycled food is now an officially defined term, which advocates say will encourage broader consumer and industry support for products that help reduce food waste. Upcycling—transforming ingredients that would have been wasted into edible food products—has been gaining ground in alternative food movements for several years but had never been officially defined.

Read More Show Less