Health Officials Issue Warning on Skin Bleaching Products

A similar experience has been known in the United States, also amongst African American women, mostly teenagers and those in their 20s.

However, that country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently reported cases of mercury poisoning linked to skin bleaching products. For obvious reasons, these products are targeted to dark skin people. They may be identified by the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,” on the label (if one exists).


Mercury is a poisonous to humans. Affected persons may experience irritability, memory loss, depression, and numbness and tingling in the hands, feet and around the mouth.

Pregnant women who use mercury-containing skin bleaching products expose their unborn to serious and irreversible injury. Complications found in babies include blindness, deafness, and mental retardation.

According to Health officials in St. Kitts and Nevis skin bleaching products are available for sale in the Federation. They are also available via the Internet. However, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Patrick Martin, has stated that persons currently using these products are strongly advised as follows: 

1: Stop and check the label for the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury,” 

2: Wash the body from head to toe thoroughly with soap and water. 

3: Contact a district medical doctor or personal medical doctor for further advice.

4: Carefully bag and take the said products to the environmental health officer in the nearest health center. Do not dispose them in the landfill or other parts of the environment. 

5: Report the sellers of unlabelled products and non-English language labelled products to the Consumer Affairs Department. 


The Chief Medical Officer said the Ministry of Health is sharing the information for consideration of citizens in St. Kitts and Nevis, with the expectation that they would exercise greater care in their decision-making.


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