Northern California health officials issued a warning Tuesday after a stained skin cream imported from Mexico left a Sacramento woman in semi-comatose condition.
The pond skin cream was found to be contaminated with methylmercury, a dangerous substance that can cause serious illness and is "extremely dangerous for adults and children," according to a news release on the Sacramento County website.
The woman obtained the cream – which is used to lighten the skin and get rid of blemishes and wrinkles – through an informal network that imports the product from Mexico, according to the publication.
Health officials emphasize that mercury was not added by the manufacturer but, on the other hand, after it had been purchased.
Brands of Woman's Disease
"Sacramento County Public Health calls on the community to immediately stop u. drink similar skin creams imported from Mexico because of the risk of contamination with methylmercury, "says Olivia Casiri, a county public health officer.
The California Department of Public Health works closely with the county to test similar creams in a methylmercury zone.
In the meantime, anyone who uses a skin cream from Mexico is urged to stop using it immediately. Instead, consumers should place the product in a closed Ziploc bag, bring it to their doctor and have a blood and urine test, according to the county. Symptoms of methyl mercury poisoning include headache, fatigue, weight loss, and numbness or tingling in the hands, feet, or around the lips.
Over the past nine years, there have been over 60 poisonings in the country associated with unpellable, home-made or foreign brand creams that contained calomel or mercuric chloride, a less toxic form of mercury, according to the newspaper.
More information can be found on the Sacramento County Health Service's website.