UN Treaty Bans Mercury! Well, Except in Mascara and Vaccines…

October 30, 2013
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Woman applying makeupSo how do you protect yourself from hidden mercury when it’s not even listed on the label?

In January, we told you about the Minamata Convention, where 140 countries finalized a legally binding treaty to ban the production and trade of mercury-containing products, as well as processes where mercury is released.

At a ceremony in Japan earlier this month, over ninety participating countries signed the final treaty. This did not include the United States, however: the delegation sent to sign the treaty was recalled before the ceremony due to the government shutdown. The US is expected to sign and ratify the treaty at a later date.

ANH-USA supports the treaty’s intent: mercury is a neurotoxin that, in extreme cases, can cause kidney damage, respiratory failure, and death. Environmental mercury contamination is so omnipresent that nearly all people have at least trace amounts of mercury in their tissue. One concern in particular is thimerosal, a mercury-based preservative with a highly questionable history. For example, a 2009 study published in the journal Toxicological & Environmental Chemistry found that thimerosal induces neural damage similar to that seen in autism patients—even in low levels.

However, for a treaty whose sole intention is to ban mercury, the Minamata Convention fails to ban mercury from even commonplace sources:

  • Mascara: Mercury—in the form of thimerosal—is sometimes used as a preservative in mascara, although you won’t see it on the label: the FDA does not mandate that ingredients comprising less than 1% of a cosmetic product be listed in labeling. The treaty’s reasoning for not banning thimerosal in mascara? “No effective safe substitute alternatives are available.” But, how can that be, when mercury-free mascara is readily offered on the market? Also, we can’t help but wonder—since the treaty green-lights thimerosal use, and the FDA does not mandate its disclosure in labeling, will conventional cosmetics companies see this is as an opportunity to add mercury to more and more products? Based on publicly available information, it doesn’t seem that many brands sold in the US currently use thimerosal. Again, due to the 1% rule, many products may use it, though there’s just no way for us to know. But with this treaty, that could change for the worse.

  • Vaccines: The final treaty does not ban thimerosal in vaccines. The argument for using this toxic substance in vaccines intended for newborns and infants is that it is used as a preservative for multi-dose injections. Why are multi-doses used? Because the medical authorities in developed countries don’t trust parents to bring their children in more than a few times. The argument for use in developing countries is that constant refrigeration may not be available. But as noted by Dr. Russell Blaylock, multiple vaccines given close together may overstimulate the growing brain’s immune system and destroy brain cells. s the benefit truly worth the risk, especially for newborns and infants?

How could a treaty that took ten years to negotiate sweep such  under the rug? As we saw at Codex, mega-corporations and special interests have incredible influence on international standards and treaties. When it comes to international standards, the question is often not “What’s best for citizens?” but “What’s best for Big Business?”

To illustrate this, take a look at the companies that attended Minamata negotiations: biotech giant DuPont, for instance, which has been fined by the EPA for contaminating our country’s waters with mercury discharge—perhaps they’re not the best candidate to advise on the safe reduction of mercury. Also in attendance was the United States Council for International Business, whose mission is to “devise policies and strategies to influence the global regulatory framework” (AKA lobby delegations at international negotiations). Its members include Monsanto, 3M (which produces processing solutions for cosmetics), and Avon cosmetics—clear beneficiaries of looser mercury regulations.

So, with the Big Business foxes guarding the international regulatory henhouse, and in the absence of transparent labeling, how do you protect yourself from hidden mercury and other dangerous additives?

Generally, educated consumers know what they’re getting with vaccines. But, here are some tips to avoid dangerous chemicals and preservatives in your cosmetics:

  • Avoid Love My Eyes brand by Bari Cosmetics (owned by mega-company Revlon)—it uses thimerosal as a preservative (although at least it discloses this fact in labeling).
  • Don’t just be on the lookout for thimerosal, but other preservatives that may be used to replace it: phenoxyethanol, methylisothiazolinone, parabens (evidence has pointed to its hormone disrupting properties), and formaldehyde releasers (formaldehyde is carcinogenic to humans). Examples of formaldehyde and paraben preservatives include butylparaben, ethylparaben, methylparaben, propylparaben. Formaldehyde preservatives may also be listed as DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, methenamine and quarternium-15.
  • Try to purchase cosmetics that don’t have synthetic dyes: you can identify these on the ingredient label as anything that starts with “F&DC,” and is followed by a color and number.
  • Say no to siloxanes: avoid ingredients that end in “siloxane” or “methicone,” as this indicates the presence of a suspected endocrine disrupter and reproductive toxicant (cyclotetrasiloxane).
  • Check out specific products’ safety ratings via the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database.
  • Purchase Certified Organic cosmetics and remember—there’s no labeling standard for “natural” and “all natural” products, so beware of false claims on products claiming to be “natural.”
  • Go bare and wear no make-up at all!

When it comes to safe, natural cosmetics, what do you use and recommend? What brands have you discovered to contain questionable chemicals? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Editor’s Note: After receiving feedback from our allies at the Campaign for Mercury Free Dentistry, we have removed references to the treaty’s impact on amalgam fillings. To learn more about this issue, please visit www.toxicteeth.org.

20 Responses to “UN Treaty Bans Mercury! Well, Except in Mascara and Vaccines…”

  1. crazy lady says:

    It just appalling how our governments still continue to allow products containing mercury to be produced, and it’s no wonder why this country results into high leukemia levels, 40% of Americans also suffer from some degree of mental disorders due to our bad environment… Mercury exists in our land and air naturally, but that doesn’t mean we should continue raising up the levels in our homes with lightbulbs and even beauty products for crying out loud! I’m never going to use mascara again and defiantly I’m warning my mother to refrain as well– This has got to come to and end and I obviously won’t rest until something’s done about it… Whether it’s a little mercury or a lot, it’s detrimental to our health regardless..

       0 likes

  2. Charlene Cheek says:

    I had my 2 sons at my pediatricians office back in 2009 or 2010 in Taylorville, Il. & the doctor had me step out of the room during part of the exam (they were older teenagers then). When I did, I saw & heard 2 detail reps from some pharmaceutical company as they were speaking to the nurse in the office. What they were saying made me very angry & I said “WHAT?!” Then I repeated what I had heard & I added they were “disgusting!”. They were telling the nurse that they had changed one part of the “Thimerosal” compound so that it was essentially the same but technically was not “Thimerosal” anymore, due to a patent. So, if her patients asked her if any immunizations still had “Thimerosal” in them, she could honestly say “NO”.
    I have since figured out that if they took all the “Thimerosal” out of the immunizations for real–& the rate of autism dropped–it would PROVE in a court of law that it WAS the immunization. So they have just changed one little insignificant chemical part of the patented Thimerosal compound, which–technically–you can no longer call Thimerosal due to the tiny change. Yet, the lawyers can argue in court if sued that the Thimerosal is no longer in the immunization, yet the rate of autism has not decreased.
    See how depraved this ploy is???!!!
    Disgusting! And I will swear on the lives of my children that this is what I heard–exactly.

       3 likes

  3. Fed up With Fascism says:

    The research IS out there on the damages from vaccines. Parents have got to use their heads and make it a priority to educate themselves on what those shots really CONTAIN. If they wouldn’t drink ONE cup of tea that was laced with mercury, formaldehyde, aluminum, and diseased foreign animal DNA then why would they even ask if ONE massive combo shot or MANY toxic shots would be better for their new babies? Augh. Think about it..how many cups of tea would you give your baby to drink with the toxic crap they put into vaccines?

    This issue of mercury hits me to the core because these quacks who give these toxic shots out do not have to hold that precious child after they are harmed so greatly. They do NOT have to go through the nightmare of recovery and wondering if their child will EVER be the same child again. They do not have to pay the thousands of dollars for useless therapies only to finally find out natural foods you make at home and natural home remedies were the key all along. They could care LESS about what they are doing TO our precious KIDS. Therefore, WE have to care about what we buy, what we use and WHERE it comes from. The best bet is home grown and homemade. …and make sure it is loaded with real love. You cannot put that in any bottle from any doctor or UN agency.

    I’m disappointed to see ANY support for the UN or their unconstitutional treaties on this site. the UN is behind the CODEX and as such if they get their way NO one will be able to use what they want for healing or diet. Nor will people be able to live where they want to live, or own ANY private land, have pets etc etc.. The UN is all for population control and they stand firm behind China’s ONE child policy. No thanks, there is something to be said for real freedom to have kids if you want them, live where you want, and grow your own food with your animal companions by your side. I think this country has already suffered plenty because of the insane Agenda 21 concocted by the UN and we have already seen what has happened in Europe with their supplement choices due to the equally insane CODEX.

       4 likes

  4. Fed up With Fascism says:

    I agree to either make your own makeup or go without. Even organics brands can hide dangerous ingredients if they are less then 1%.

    Having a son who was severely injured by vaccines due to mercury and aluminum I can attest that this substance doesn’t need to be anywhere NEAR humans or animals. It was a very LONG road to heal him and his injury was completely avoidable.

    Nonetheless a UN treaty isn’t going to fix anything. When we are talking about an “international” organization how many people sit down to think about how they will “enforce” actions after violations? UN police? UN safety organization? How? Do we want to open this door when numerous so-called “safety organizations” in this country have already proven themselves to be up for grabs to the highest bidder at the sacrifice of our health?

    We need to fix these issues iN our country and forget these “international” organizations that only usurp our laws and constitutional rights just as soon as a treaty opens the door to let them in.

    In the case of mercury we can start with the FDA who has obstructed justice and refused to insert a ban on this extremely neurotoxic substance and because there is NO ban on mercury in vaccines the FDA doesn’t even test for it! To make matters worse drug companies are allowed to SELF report on mercury matters. We can also go to the corrupt ACIP and AMA who refuse to take all mercury filled vaccines OFF the “recommended” list for precious CHILDREN as well as refuse to tell all parents that not ONE vaccine is “mandatory” because all states have vaccine exemptions.

    We can then beg the marketplace to come up with a cheap and affordable MERCURY TEST for home use so we can become our own detectives and whistleblowers of these crappy companies who keep giving us hidden hardcore toxins like mercury IN products we use everyday. Nothing spreads faster then word of mouth folks. We have got to stop waiting for these “safety” agencies to do their jobs and supposedly “save us”. They are NOT going to save us..they are only going to help to create the next monopoly giant we face. Therefore, we have got to save ourselves.

    I save our son because I STOPPED vaccinating. I also never opted for any brain damaging prescription drugs. If I would have waited for some doctor or government ABC group to tell me to stop vaccinating or to never drug my son to compound his injuries then my son would have NEVER recovered.

    The research IS out there on the damages from…

       2 likes

  5. Diane Adams says:

    I agree with the post that the insurance companies really need to pay for removal of amalgam / mercury fillings. They are beginning to be revealed even here, but still placed in patients that do not know the danger. I say, own it and fix it. This is a great article, thank you for all the detail. The best way to avoid mercury and other undesirable ingredients in cosmetics is through the right brands. Vaccines, none at all is the best way, but that will never happen given the big brother health project they have against the health of the people they are charged to protect.

       0 likes

  6. Elizabeth says:

    Don’t forget all the mercury in compact fluorescent light bulbs.

       1 likes

  7. denise says:

    one of many reasons why i don’t get vaccinated…and i practice PREVENTIVE MEDICINE so i don’t need them…but would like to have the amalgam fillings in my mouth removed – curious to see what kind of changes would occur in my body and overall health. Thanks to ANH-USA for all the wonderful, informative articles! i love to share them with readers on my wordpress blog, The Wisdom Tube!

       0 likes

  8. Rita Butler says:

    Two of my favorite brands which I have used extensively are Ecco Bella and Real Purity. Both of these companies make excellent products free of toxic chemicals. Another company I really like is Wiseways Herbals. However, they do not have makeup but have many other good face, hair and body products.

       0 likes

  9. Genie Borrelli says:

    I’d love to see the Affordable Care Act include the free or very low-cost removal/replacement of mercury-containing fillings.

    The corporations who have been responsible for this known toxic pollution in our country should definitely not be involved in deciding what should be done about it. They’ve done enough damage. Let’s get on with it.

    Even though I haven’t read the treaty, it appears the U.S. should sign it as soon as possible so that Americans can really begin to get on the road to better health!

       5 likes

  10. Ken Marx says:

    Not to mention light bulbs that should be properly disposed of but usually end up in the landfill. And what happens if one breaks in your living room or kitchen?

       8 likes

  11. Bill and Lynne Starrett says:

    One always look at the whole picture, which is never easy. As someone who has had to detox the mercury overload from my body I know the importance of banning all use of mercury. Please take this seriously.

       7 likes

  12. Natural Nurture says:

    Is a multi-dose injection not a large vial of vaccine that is kept refrigrerated and that vaccine is withdrawn from… for a number of patients at different times or in a series of school vaccine programs etc…rather than a bunch of doses at once in one patient.

    BUT either way, that still doesn’t
    OK THE USE OF MERCURY…
    it is a toxin and should be kept a long way away from vaccines.

    I’m just looking for clarification and understanding on the term multi-dose…or should we be using multi-use vials versus Single use vials?

       1 likes

    • Carol Allen says:

      I believe a “multi-dose is several different vaccines given at the same time, eg. measles, mumps, polio, DPT, etc..

         0 likes

  13. Bruce Stewart says:

    To be clear on the multi-dose vaccines, it is multi-dose vials that contain thimerosal. When more than one needle is inserted into the vial the chance of contamination must increase to the point that manufactures or the FDA feels the need to put a harmful preservative in the vaccine.
    The answer to the problem is simple, reduce profits a little and use single dose vials! Oh wait, we can’t cut profits just for a little health safety! No, we’re big pharma and we exist for big profits.

       4 likes

  14. lisa says:

    please remove mercury from all products, fillings, foods, drugs ect…..

       6 likes

  15. Lloyd Zimmerman says:

    Thank you for this Great article at exposing the snookery of these industries…follow the money and at the end is a spiritually devoid policy question that needs to be challenged….Thanks for asking that quest.

       3 likes

  16. Julianne Bruno says:

    This is a fantastic article. Please refer readers also to Women’s Voices for the Earth that work diligently to have companies disclose all of their ingredients on the products and please speak more about xenoestrogens and effects in more future articles. There are only specific cosmetic companies such as Luxe or Beauty Wise that do not contain toxic ingredients. 99% of what women wear contains the toxic substances listed above. We need to keep informing women.

       5 likes

  17. Dale Must says:

    The FDA has become too politicized. During the Bush administration, I was on the FDA website to look for any developments on sinus medicines. There was a medicine submitted on an “expedite” basis. I followed up on this and the drug was approved. I emailed the FDA with pertinent questions as to what this approved drug would do with sinus conditions. FDA replied that I would have to contact the manufacturer. How can the FDA test this within 60-90 days and still be objective? No wonder there are so many attorneys advertising on TV asking if you took this or that!. The FDA is due to be testing GMO’s genetically changed corn, fish, etc. I shudder. Anything genetically changed could have a harmful effect on a person’s body if taken over a prolonged period of time. Is the FDA going to approve these in a short time also.? I don’t think they have our safety in mind.

       5 likes

  18. DoRi Miles says:

    How do they get away with the lies! All the above is why I don’t wear makeup anymore.

       3 likes

  19. Razzle says:

    Best thing I ever did was ditch cosmetics. Use organic coconut oil or organic butter as a moisturizer…works best applied right after bathing/showering.

       2 likes

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