Minnesota apparently is the first state in the nation to ban intentionally added mercury in cosmetics, giving it a tougher standard than the federal government.
Retailers who knowingly sell mercury-containing cosmetics in Minnesota could face fines of as much as $700. Penalties could reach $10,000 for manufacturers who fail to disclose mercury on product labels, according to the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
"Mercury does cause neurological damage to people even in tiny quantities," said Sen. John Marty, the Democrat from Roseville who sponsored the ban. "Every source of mercury adds to it. We wanted to make sure it wasn't here."
Mercury can retard brain development in children and fetuses, who are most vulnerable to the metal's toxic effects. But it can also cause neurological symptoms in adults.