Amazon removed over a dozen skin-lightening products with toxic levels of mercury off its website after two groups, the Sierra Club and the BeautyWell Project, brought attention to the issue. According to Minnesota Public Radio, the two groups took out a full-page ad in the Star-Tribune warning that some skin-lightening products they purchased off the site had tested positive for unsafe levels of mercury—which would make them illegal according to federal law. “Amazon continues to sell skin-lightening creams that are toxic and promote racist beauty notions,” the ad read. “None of the products we purchased list mercury on the label. Amazon, stop selling these products.” The groups also delivered a petition with over 23,000 signatures supporting the removal of the products to a local fulfillment center. An Amazon spokesperson said the sellers of those products were violating the company's selling guidelines that bar the sale of unsafe cosmetics, and confirmed that the products were no longer available for purchase. While skin-lightening cosmetics are reportedly a $20 billion industry, the World Health Organization says mercury can negatively affect the nervous system, kidney, and cause pregnancy complications.
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