Utilization of Betadine (Povidone Iodine) as a Simple Test for the Presence of Mercury in Cosmetics.


Bleaching cream is a mixture of chemicals and others with properties that can lighten dark spots (brown) on the skin. The purpose of using it for a long time is to eliminate or reduce hyperpigmentation on the skin, but continuous use will actually cause pigmentation with permanent effects (Anonymous, 2012b).

Mercury water / silver liquid is a chemical element on the periodic table with the symbol Hg, atomic number 80 weight and molecular number 200.59. The elements of this transitional ligan group are flat in color and are one of five elements (along with cesium, francium, galium and bromine) which are liquid at room temperature, volatile and toxic (Wikipedia, 2013). Chronic poisoning by mercury can occur due to skin contact, food, drink and respiration. The accumulation of Hg in the body can cause tremors, Parkinson’s, gray eye lens disorders, and mild anemia, followed by a nervous system disorder that is very sensitive to mercury with the first symptoms being paresthesia, ataxia, dysarthria, deafness, and finally death (Wikipedia , Metal thoxicity).

The addition of mercury in whitening in facial whitening creams is done because mercury can inhibit melanin formation in the skin. Melanin is a protein substance that plays a role in determining a person’s skin color. Darker skin color has more melanin in the epidermis than light skin. Due to the inhibition of melanin formation by mercury, the skin becomes light colored as a result. Under normal circumstances, melanin is produced regularly by melasonite cells. Melanin, besides giving color to the skin, also functions to protect the skin from sun exposure which can damage the skin structure, melanin is very useful in protecting the skin from UV rays (Anonymous, 2011).

In the use of whitening creams, almost all of them work to inhibit the enzyme rhyrosinase. But mercury not only inhibits, but also damages skin cells so there is no nutrition and regeneration that mercury does, which is what causes the face to become whiter in a matter of days. And because of its toxic nature, the use of mercury slowly damages the dermis and epidermis as well as all the enzymes that work to support the skin (Anonymous, 2012a).

The use of mercury in whitening creams can cause various things, ranging from changes in skin color which in turn can cause dark spots on the skin, allergies, skin irritation. Use in high doses can cause permanent damage to the brain, kidneys, and impaired fetal development. Even short-term exposure in high doses can also cause vomiting, diarrhea, and lung damage and is a carcinogenic (cancer-causing) substance in humans (BPOM, 2006). Regulation of the Head of the Food and Drug Supervisory Agency number HK. of 2011 concerning technical requirements for cosmetic ingredients, prohibiting the use of mercury in cosmetics (BPOM, 2008: 2011).

One way that can be used to identify mercury in facial whitening creams is to do qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis. Qualitative analysis aims to determine the existence of a chemical element or compound, both organic and non-organic. To test for the presence of mercury in mixtures or cosmetics so far using a method that is complicated and expensive and can only be done in a laboratory, making it difficult for ordinary people to carry out these tests


The purpose of writing this student’s scientific writing is:

1. Shows the testing process for the presence of mercury using betadine (Povidone Iodine)

2. Shows the minimum level of mercury that can be detected using betadine (Povidone Iodine)

3. Shows the test results of bleach on the market using the test with betadine (Povidone Iodine)


Tools and materials

The materials used in this research include:

a. HgNO3 solution

b. Aquades

c. Betadine

d. Whitening cosmetic samples

The tools used

a. Test tube

b. Dropper pipettes

c. Beaker glass

d. Enlemeyer

3. Research Work Steps

A. Testing of HgNO3 Standard Solution with Various Concentrations

To determine the minimum levels of mercury that can be detected in this way, a solution of mercury from HgNO3 is made with the following concentrations:

1. HgNO3 solution was made with a concentration of 0.1 M, 0.01 M, 0.001 M, 0.0001 M, 0.00001M

2. The solution made is entered into a test tube of approximately 2 ml and labeled

3. Added 3 drops of betadine solution and observed

4. This experiment is carried out until the smallest possible level can be detected

B. Testing Cosmetics Containing Mercury With Various Samples

1. A total of approximately 2 grams of sample is dissolved into 10 ml of aquadest

2. Approximately 2 ml of the filtrate is taken in a test tube

3. Added 3 drops of betadine solution

4. Observed the color and the sediment formed


A. Testing Standard HgNO3 Solution Using Betadine

To test the standard HgNO3 solution, five solutions with different concentrations were made, this aims to determine the smallest concentration of mercury or mercury that can be detected using iodized table salt in tube A to make HgNO3 solution with a concentration of 0.1 M, tube B concentration. 0.01 M, tube C with a concentration of 0.00001 M, tube D with a concentration of 0.0001 M and tube E with a concentration of mercury of 0.00001 M.

The tube tube is then dripped with three drops of betadine solution and the color is obtained as shown below, the leftmost tube is a distilled water solution, tube A containing 0.01 M HgNO3 solution shows a white color, while in solution B containing 0.001 M HgNO3 solution shows a clear color solution. Whereas other solutions show a color like the original betadine color, which is yellow, this shows that the solution containing mercury will change the color of the betadine from yellow to another color depending on the number of concentrations of mercury metal available, the greater the concentration of mercury. mercury metal further changes the color of the betadine solution.

To determine the color stability of the solution, the solution is left for a few minutes to observe the color change, from the observation results, it can be seen in the following figure

Utilization of Betadine (Povidone Iodine) as a Simple Test for the Presence of Mercury in Cosmetics.
Standard HgNO3 solution after addition of 3 drops of betadine

From the observation that the betadine solution in a solution that does not contain mercury or mercury, which has very small levels shows a stable yellow color, the stability of which is up to one hour or even up to 24 hours, while the solution containing mercury immediately fades and turns yellow or white. depending on the concentration of the mercury

B.Calculation of the minimum levels that can be detected using Betadine

The experimental results show that the concentration of the HgNO3 solution that can still be detected with betadine solution is 0.001 M, with a concentration of 0.001 M which can still be detected with betadine, so the levels of mercury in the solution that can be detected can be determined by using calculations.

Aas follows M = gr x 1000 where gr is the weight of mercury, M is molarity, Ar is the relative atom of mercury and p is the water solvent used so that 0.001 = gr x 1000

0.001 x 201 x 10 = gr x 1000,

so the gr value is 0.00201 gram or 2.01 mg.

This concentration is a concentration that is small enough so that the betadine solution is good enough to test the presence of mercury metal added to cosmetics, while for sample A with a concentration of 0.1 M HgNO3 solution which shows a very significant result on the change in color, the mercury levels detected are as follows

0.01 = gr x 1000

0.01 x 2081 = gr x 1000

So that the gr value is 20.1 mg,

the solution is still relatively small, so it can be concluded that the level of 20.1 mg of mercury has provided very significant test results.

C. Testing of Cosmetic Samples Using Betadine Solution

To test the presence of cosmetics containing mercury or not, tests were carried out with various cosmetics circulating in the mercury market, the samples taken were cosmetic samples with brand brands as follows sample A, B , C, D, E. 2 grams of the whitening cream was taken and then dissolved in 10 ml of aquadest and filtered to take the filtrate. After obtaining the filtrate, 2 ml of the solution is added with 3 drops of betadine solution then stirred and let stand then the following picture is obtained. 

Utilization of Betadine (Povidone Iodine) as a Simple Test for the Presence of Mercury in Cosmetics.

After a few minutes of silence, there will be a difference between samples containing mercury and samples that do not contain mercury, samples containing mercury in about 5 minutes have shown a color change as in the image below.

Utilization of Betadine (Povidone Iodine) as a Simple Test for the Presence of Mercury in Cosmetics.

After leaving it for more than 5 minutes, it will show an increasingly different color, where the solution containing mercury cosmetics will show a clear color solution, the same as the color of the standard HgNO3 solution made in the first experiment. This is because the iodine in povidone has binded to mercury, so that only the povidone compound remains colorless, while the iodine which binds to mercury will form a yellow or reddish precipitate depending on the mercury level.

Utilization of Betadine (Povidone Iodine) as a Simple Test for the Presence of Mercury in Cosmetics.


Based on the research results, it can be concluded that:

1. Mercury in cosmetics can be tested using betadine by dropping 3 drops of the solution into a gel containing mercury, a solution containing mercury will produce a color from yellow to white or clear depending on the level of mercury.

2. Mercury that can be detected using betadine is mercury with a minimum level of 0.01 M or 2.01 mg

3. From the results of the analysis of 5 samples circulating in the market that 3 days the sample was positive using mercury above 2 mg, while the other two samples did not use mercury

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