Evaluation of Harmful Substances and Health Risk Assessment of Mercury and Arsenic in Cosmetic Brands in Nigeria

  •  John Nduka    
  •  Isaac Odiba    
  •  Eruemrejovwo Aghoghome    
  •  Ngozi Umedum    
  •  Maduabuchi Nwosu    


Forty two different cosmetic samples consisting of 16 facial cosmetics, 6 soaps, 1 shower gel, 12 emulsions, 2 underarm cosmetics, 3 nail cosmetics and 2 perfumes were purchased from department stores and cosmetic shops within Onitsha Main Market and Eke-Awka in Anambra, Nigeria. Seven of these cosmetic (16.67%) were locally manufactured in Nigeria while thirty five (83.33%) were imported into Nigeria. The cosmetics were ashed before digestion and filtration. The filtrates were assayed for mercury and arsenic with AAS SearchTech AA320N. Hydroquinone presence was identified by chromatographic test while steroids, nitrite and N-nitrosamines were identified by colour test and together were assayed by UV-spectrophotometer (Spectrulab 21). The health risk assessment methods developed by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) were employed to explore the potential human health risk of Mercury and Arsenic in cosmeticsamples.
Results showed that two (2)  of the cosmetic samples contained mercury ( 0.003 + 0.000mg/kg and
0.07 + 0.00mg/kg)  while three cosmetic samples contained arsenic (0.002 + 0.000, 0.002+0.000 and 0.005 +0.000 mg/kg). Hydroquinone concentration ranged from 1.14 + 0.00 – 1.83 + 0.03 mg/kg (1.14E-02 – 1.83E-02 %).Steroid was found in only two samples with concentration of 16.70 + 0.74 mg/kg and 17.63 + 0.74 while N-nitrosamines and nitrite occurred in nine and eleven samples in the range of 4.66 + 0.09 – 43.52 + 0.47 and 0.87 + 0.02 – 13.42 + 2.90 respectively. The total cancer and non-cancer risk results indicated that although the chances of cancer risk and non-cancer risk resulting from the use of these cosmetic products were unlikely, build up of these heavy metals overtime on continuous usage could be detrimental.

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  • ISSN(Print): 1916-9698
  • ISSN(Online): 1916-9701
  • Started: 2009
  • Frequency: semiannual

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