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Category : General Advice

Tuesday, May 27. 2014

ALERT- Creams from Mexico may contain Mercury and lead to poisening

Dear Physicians,


Alert Message

This is a message from the LA County Department of Public Health. 

The California Department of Public Health issued a health alert on May 21; "Mercury Poisoning Linked to Use of Skin-Lightening or Acne Creams from Mexico".  The CDPH communication can be found below. The full text of the health alert is attached.

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Environmental Health Investigations Branch has issued a health alert due to multiple cases of mercury poisoning caused by certain skin-lightening or acne creams from Mexico. The CDPH Food and Drug Laboratory found these creams to contain very high levels of mercury-up to 210,000 parts per million (ppm), or 21 percent. In the United States, it is illegal to sell skin cream products that contain 1 ppm or more of mercury.

The products under investigation come in plastic containers that have either no label or a hand-made label. They were purchased on the street in California cities through informal networks of friends or brought into the United States from Mexico. The creams are non-commercial and are used for lightening the skin; fading freckles, blemishes, and age spots; and treating acne.

CDPH is asking medical providers to consider mercury poisoning when diagnosing patients with any of the signs and symptoms listed on page 1 of this health alert, which is available at http://www.ehib.org/pa pers/Health_Alert%20_Mercury_Poisonings_from_Mexican_creams_5_2014.pdf and attached here. The entire health alert includes summary information; signs and symptoms of inorganic mercury poisoning; examples of cases in California; sources and examples of products; information about mercury absorption and toxicity; information about home contamination; guidance for medical testing, medical treatment and follow-up, and disposal; additional background information; and links to further information.

A comprehensive list of resources, including multi-lingual fact sheets and public service announcements, is available at http://www.ehib.org/paper.jsp?paper_key=MSKC.

If you have any questions, please contact your local HAN Coordinator. You may also email the CAHAN Team at cahaninfo@cdph.ca.gov or call, toll-free, (877) 376-4767.


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