Minnesota bans mercury in mascara. (go here for the original story.) And here I didn’t think such a law was needed.
Mercury, for those of you who don’t know, is also called quicksilver. Once widely used in thermometers and other scientific apparatus, concerns about the element’s toxicity have led to such instruments being phased out in in favor of alcohol-filled or digital instruments.
Mercury and most of its compounds are extremely toxic. In cases of spills involving mercury (such as from certain thermometers or fluorescent light bulbs) specific cleaning procedures must be used to avoid toxic exposure. It can be inhaled and absorbed through the skin and mucous membranes, so containers of mercury are securely sealed to avoid spills and evaporation. (Thanks to Wikipedia for source material.)
So, mercury in mascara means coating your eyelashes and mucous membranes with the stuff. Who exactly thought it was a good idea to put mercury in mascara anyway?