In Europe, the most "successful" whitening formulas contained ceruse
, or white lead, which not only allowed for the appearance of matte white skin but further had a toxic effect on its wearers, including shortness of breath, dizziness, blindness and even paralysis (Dyer, 1997; Gunn, 1973; Peiss, 1998; Williams, 1957).
After a fortnight of fundraising, 13-year-olds Thomas Raynor and Ceruse
Salehy, who organised the events, managed to collect pounds 666.
Because cosmetics were often linked with poisons (most cosmetics were made of mercury sublimate and ceruse
, or white lead) and their operations were usually invisible, they created "a crisis of permeability, penetration and contagion" (83).