Heavy Metals

Heavy Metals


Metal toxicity or poisoning is the toxic effect of some metals commonly known as Heavy metals which include Arsenic, cadmium, chromium, cobalt, lead, mercury, and nickel.

Mercury compounds are allowed in cosmetics only as preservatives in eye area products and not allowed in any other cosmetic products except in a trace amount of less than 1 ppm and only if its presence is unavoidable under good manufacturing practice (GMP). FDA has published draft guidance for industry that recommends a maximum level of 10 ppm for lead as an impurity in cosmetics.

Arsenic, lead, and mercury in color additives: Unlike other cosmetic ingredients, color additives must have FDA approval for their intended uses. They also must meet the requirements of the color additive regulations. These include limits on heavy metal impurities. FDA sets these limits based on factors such as how the color additive will be used and in what amounts.

Typically, these are the limits for color additives used in cosmetics:

    • Arsenic: Not more than 3 ppm
    • Lead: Not more than 20 ppm
    • Mercury: Not more than 1 ppm
    • Chromium: chromium hydroxide and chromium oxide greens are both permitted for use as color additives in externally applied cosmetics, including use in the eye area, in amounts consistent with GMP.


ITC Labs capabilities in Heavy metals

For Heavy metal testing in ITC Labs instruments available inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry ICP-MS), Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and atomic absorption spectrometery (AAS) with all attachment GTA, VGA and Flame.