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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2013, Article ID 959637, 7 pages
Research Article

Metal Concentrations in Cosmetics Commonly Used in Nigeria

1Toxicology Unit, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria
2Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Science, Rivers State University of Science and Technology, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria

Received 4 October 2013; Accepted 18 November 2013

Academic Editors: D. K. Hansen and A. Tsatsakis

Copyright © 2013 Orish Ebere Orisakwe and Jonathan Oye Otaraku. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Trace amounts of potentially toxic metals can be either intentionally added to cosmetics or present as impurities in the raw materials. In the present study, the levels of lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, and mercury have been assessed in 28 body creams and lotions, 10 powders, 3 soaps, 5 eye make-ups, and 4 lipsticks widely available on Nigerian markets. The increases over suggested or mandated levels of lead in these creams and lotions ranged from 6.1 to 45.9 and from 1.2 to 9.2 mg kg−1 when compared with Cosmetic Ingredients Review Expert Panel 2007 and German safe maximum permissible limit of lead in cosmetics, respectively. About 61% of the body cosmetics, the lotions, and the creams contained detectable levels of nickel ranging from 1.1 to 6.4–9.2 mg kg−1. Chromium and mercury were undetected in 100% of the cosmetic product. Taken together, lead and cadmium were high in creams and lotions. Most of the imported creams and creamy white coloured cosmetics contained higher levels of metal contaminants than the other colours. Regulatory Agencies in developing nations should take appropriate action for cosmetics that contain lead and cadmium beyond the reference limits.