Med.Inter.Rev. 2016, 107, 81-90.

Toxicological aspects of metal impurities in cosmetics
(Oryg. Toksykologiczne aspekty zanieczyszczeń
metalicznych w kosmetykach)


Department of Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmacy, Jagiellonian University, Medical College, Medyczna 9, PL
30-688 Kraków.


Heavy metal compounds are included in many cosmetics and dietary supplements. The most frequent metal contaminants of cosmetic products are mercury, lead, cadmium and arsenic. The contents of toxic metals in cosmetic products are mainly associated with the use of inadequately cleaned raw materials. Despite numerous inspections of the manufacturing process andkeeping the production in line with the principles of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP), these elements are still found even in products of the best quality. Metals contaminate cosmetics as a result of production processes. Heavy metal toxicity is the result of prolonged exposure which causes the appearance of many side effects. The mechanism of toxicity is mainly related to the impairment of ATP and the change of protein synthesis in enzyme activity, by inducing free radicals. Metals interfere with, among others, the proper functioning of organs, neurotoxic effects, cause problems in learning and behavior, adversely affect the proper functioning of the immune system and adversely affect the developping fetus. Metals have the ability to accumulate in certain organs, primarily in the kidneys and the liver. The European Union does not regulate the limits of metal concentrations in detail, but there is a list of  substances prohibited for use in cosmetics in all Member States

Keywords: toxicity of metals, cosmetic products, lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic

Oryginal language: Polish

Pdf version