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DOES LOW MERCURY CONTAINING SKIN-LIGHTENING CREAM (FAIR & LOVELY) AFFECT THE KIDNEY, LIVER, AND BRAIN OF FEMALE MICE?

Fair & Lovely is an over-the-counter skin-lightening cream sold widely in Saudi markets. Its mercury content is 0.304В±0.316 ?g/g, in the range of 0.102 to 0.775 ?g/g. This study was designed to evaluate its toxic effects on mice. The cream was applied on mice for a period of 1 month at different intervals. Mercury levels were measured in the liver, kidney, and brain tissue samples of a total of 75 adult female CD1 mice by Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer coupled to a Vapor Generator Accessory. The mean mercury concentrations in the tissues of the treated mice were 0.193В±0.319 ?g/g; whereas for the control group, it was 0.041 ?g/gВ±0.041?g/g. While the kidney was found to have the highest mercury content, the brain was found to have the lowest content. Treated mice showed a significant reduction in body weight. Marked histological changes were clearly noted in the kidney and, to a lesser extent, in the brain and liver. These results indicate that although Fair & Lovely mercury content is less than the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permissible limits histopathological changes in the brain, kidney, and liver tissues are evidence of its possible toxicity.