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Minnesota testing newborns for mercury exposure

Newborn baby
Newborn baby

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Some Minnesota newborns are being tested for mercury levels under a new state program targeting the use of toxic skin creams.

Some skin lightening creams can contain mercury at levels thousands of times higher than the level set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The Minnesota Family Environmental Exposure Tracking program will target immigrant newborns in Twin Cities hospitals to look for disparities in mercury levels. Women will also answer questionnaires about their exposure to products that can carry mercury.

A state pollution agency sent more than 1,000 letters to stores that sold the products telling them to stop selling the creams.

The testing program will look at whether exposure to mercury is higher in immigrant communities and will cost the state $534,000.