NON-DESTRUCTIVE ANALYSIS OF MERCURY BY THE ENERGY DISPERSIVE X RAY FLUORESCENCE TECHNIQUE IN BEAUTY CREAMS SOLD IN KENYA.
Analysis of mercury in 100 different beauty creams by the energy dispersive X ray fluorescence technique is described. Each sample was brought to a melt by warming on a water bath at 40-50eC, and then poured onto a 2.5 cm diameter Mylar backed aluminium ring so as to acquire the configuration of a homogeneous pellet when cooled. No other physical or chemical treatments were applied to the sample. The results of our mercury level measurements and analysis (u,g/g) showed that: (a) the detection limit for the detector system was 3.3; (b) 'Madonna' (green) (n= 10) had the highest level of mercury: 29 000 + 2800; (c) 'Madonna' (red) (n = 10) had a level of 18 000 ± 1700; (d) 'Pimplex' cream (« = 10) had 6800 ± 690; (e) 'Shirley' (original) (n = 10) registered 14 000 ± 1100; (0 'Bestlady' cream registered 13 000 ± 1300; (g) 'Topsine' (n = 10) had 1600 ± 150; (h) 'Fennel' (n = 10) had 4300 ± 430; (i) 'Shirley' (new), 'Dermovate' and 'Topshirley' creams (n = 10 each) registered mercury levels below the detection limit; (j) there was a significant difference (p < 0.001) in the results for 'Madonna' (red), 'Pimplex' and 'Shirley' (original) for batches bought during March and September 1995. The health implications of some of these high levels of mercury present in some beauty creams in Kenya are discussed.