Levels of heavy metals in selected facial cosmetics marketed in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Joseph Philip, Silvia John, Othman Othman


The aim of this study was to determine the levels of heavy metals: lead, cadmium, copper, zinc, arsenic and mercury in facial cosmetics (lipstick, lip glossy, facial powder, foundation, eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara) which were purchased randomly in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The levels of lead, cadmium, copper and zinc were determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (AAS). The levels of arsenic were determined using Hydride Generation Atomic Absorption Spectrometry (HGAAS), and levels of mercury were determined using Cold Vapour Atomic Absorption Spectrometry. Prior to determination of the concentration of heavy metals, the samples were acid digested. The average order of concentration of heavy metals in the sample was found to be zinc > lead > cadmium > copper >arsenic > mercury (foundation), zinc > cadmium > lead > arsenic > copper > mercury (powder), copper > lead > cadmium > zinc > arsenic > mercury > (eye shadows), zinc > copper > lead > cadmium > mercury > arsenic (eyeliners), zinc > cadmium > mercury > copper > lead >arsenic (mascaras), zinc > lead > cadmium > arsenic > copper > mercury (lipsticks), lead > cadmium > zinc > copper >arsenic > mercury (lip glossy). The observed higher percentage concentrations of heavy metals beyond limits of Canadian standards for cosmetics were as follows: lead 62.79%, cadmium 16.28%, arsenic 34.88% and mercury 6.98%.

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