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Hong Kong releases Mercury Control Ordinance

February 15 2022

Mercury Control Ordinance came into effective in Hong Kong on December 1, 2021.

Mercury Control Ordinance came into effective in Hong Kong on December 1, 2021.

The Legislative Council of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) enacted a Mercury Control Ordinance (MCO) (Cap. 640) on December 1, 2021.
This Ordinance is to protect public health and the environment by regulating the export, import, keeping and use of mercury, mercury mixtures and mercury compounds. It also controls the export, import, manufacture and supply of certain mercury-added products, and regulates certain manufacturing processes in which mercury or mercury compounds are used.
The Mercury Control Ordinance ensures the region is in full compliance with its international obligations under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Cosmetics falling within following scope and description are considered to be one of the regulated mercury-added products under Schedule 3 of this Ordinance. The export, import or manufacturing of these regulated mercury-added products is therefore prohibited.

Item Description of mercury-added product


  1. Mercury content exceeds 1 ppm:
    Include skin lightening soap and cream
  2. Excludes any cosmetic product that is intended by its manufacturer to be applied in the vicinity of the eyes and which:
    1. Contains mercury as a preservative
    2. There is no effective and safe substitute; and
    3. Mercury content does not exceed 70 ppm

The restrictions do not apply when the product is: 

  1. Essential for civil protection and military use
  2. Intended by its manufacturer to be used for:
    1. Research
    2. Instrument calibration 
    3. As a reference standard.
  3. Used in traditional practices or religious practices
  4. A vaccine
  5. Contains thiomersal as a preservative

Footer : 

  1. Cap 640 Mercury Control Ordinance: https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap640!en-zh-Hant-HK?INDEX_CS=N&xpid=ID_1438403202100_004 
  2. Press Release from The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region: https://www.info.gov.hk/gia/general/202109/16/P2021091600333.htm 

Queenie Ho-yan TSE
Technical Services Manager

Tags: cosmetics-hygiene, Cosmetics


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