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Lead, Manganese and Mercury: Metals in Personal Care Products

Contact Author Jurij J. Hostynek and Howard I. Maibach, MD, University of California School of Medicine
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Lead (Pb)
Lead is a toxic, non-essential element of mammalian nutrition. It is a suspected carcinogen and is noted for its genotoxicity, neurotoxicity, immunotoxicity and developmental toxicity in both males and females. It is a cumulative poison due to the absence of an effective mechanism of elimination from the organism. The overriding health concern is the effect lead exposure has on the cognitive and neurobehavioral development of infants and young children, as well as fetal exposure to maternal lead during gestation. Its compounds, natrually found throughout the environment, present constant exposure to humans, leading to accumulation of potentially toxic levels by absorption through all routes of entry.

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