Date of Graduation

Summer 8-11-2023

Document Access

Project/Capstone - Global access

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


School of Nursing and Health Professions

First Advisor

Marissa Kraynak Montano, PhD


Introduction: This paper aims to declare skin-lightening products containing mercury as a public health issue that deserves recognition in health and attention in health policy reforms.

Background and Literature Review: The public health issue analyzed with research and literature review encompasses worldwide mercury poisoning cases, databases of illegal skin-lightening creams, cosmetic safety laws, and policies on online selling platforms. The literature review addresses the existing knowledge regarding mercury in skin-lightening products and identifies the gaps in health policy and awareness surrounding this issue.

Methods: The paper includes many articles analyzing the issue from a global perspective, utilizing Scopus and PubMed and government organizations for data, information, and recommendations to explore.

Recommendations: An analysis of two themes of recommendations through feasibility, relevance, and health impact criteria to determine which criteria have gaps. This analysis resulted in two solutions to support recommendations through the California Proposition 65 warning labels in online selling platforms and establishing a clinical diagnosis of mercury poisoning from skin-lightening products. End with an implementation process through Logic Model steps.

Implications/Impact: The solutions above highly impact health behavior and shift against skin-lightening products utilizing the Health Belief Model theory. This section states limitations and future recommendations for the next steps of the solutions.

Conclusion: The narrative of societal beauty standards perpetuates the use of skin-lightening products, and this paper sheds light on this social stigma worldwide.