Skin-lightening practices and mercury exposure in the Somali community.

Amira Adawe, Charles N Oberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Somali women often use creams and soaps to lighten skin tone, fade freckles or get rid of age spots. Use of these products raises a health concern, as some have been found to contain mercury. This article describes an investigation that involved interviewing Somali women about skin-lightening practices and the products they use and then testing those products for mercury. Twenty-seven samples of products purchased at markets in Minneapolis and St. Paul were analyzed bythe Minnesota Department of Health for specific mercury levels. Eleven of the 27 (47%) were found to contain mercury. Some exceeded the current FDA threshold of 1 part per million. This has prompted both state and federal health officials to issue warnings about the use of these products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)48-49
Number of pages2
JournalMinnesota medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2013

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