Minnesota to ban all mercury-containing products

ST. PAUL, Minn. Minnesota is banning mercury in cosmetics, toiletries and fragrances under a state law that goes into effect Jan. 1.

Under the state law, those who knowingly sell, offer to sell or distribute a cosmetic product containing mercury could face fines of as much as $700. According to an Associated Press report citing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels could face penalties of up to $10,000.

John Bailey, chief scientist with the Personal Care Products Council (formerly known as the Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association), told the AP that most makeup companies have phased out the use of mercury. However, some eye products still legally contain mercury, as it is used as a preservative and germ-killer.

Federal law allows eye products to contain up to 65 parts per million of mercury. According to the AP, Bailey said that the exposure a person would get from a product used in such small quantities would not pose a problem.

The state law is part of a larger ban that targets such sources of mercury as thermostats, barometers and medical devices. The law also covers OTC products.

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