Comparative analysis of mercury content in human hair and cosmetic products used in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Total mercury (T-Hg) concentrations were analysed in human hairs and cosmetic products sold in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. The average total mercury (T-Hg) concentrations in the scalp hair of females using mercury based cosmetic creams and soaps ranged from 7.0 ± 0.4 to 880 ± 12 ppm. Highest T-Hg concentrations were found in females who work in beauty hair salons and the lowest concentrations were found among students. The average values in non-cosmetic users were found to be lower, with mercury ranging from 0.57 ± 0.07 to 8.29 ± 1.22 ppm. Analysis of cosmetic products indicated high values, ranging from 0.11 ± 0.03 to 8665 ± 15 ppm in soaps and 0.16 ± 0.02 to 25.30 ± 4.2 ppm in cosmetic creams. Mercury being a cumulative toxin, the findings suggests that women who use mercurial crèmes and soaps are likely to be poisoned as the compounds can enter the body through various pathways, including inhalation of vapor, ingestion, and skin contact.
Tanzania Journal of Science Vol. 31 (1) 2005: pp. 83-90