A California woman was hospitalized after using a mercury-tainted skin cream from Mexico, the first case of its kind reported in the U.S.
The Sacramento resident, who lapsed into a semi-comatose state, had applied a Pond’s-labeled lotion that was imported through an informal network, according to a statement from the Sacramento County Department of Health Services.
The poisonous form of mercury, which is used in fluorescent lights and batteries and can damage the brain and spinal cord, wasn’t added by Pond’s, but by a third party after purchase, according to the department. Sacramento County Public Health, which couldn’t confirm when or how, is working with the state health department to test similar creams in the area for methylmercury.
Over the past nine years, there have been over 60 poisonings in California linked to foreign brand, unlabeled and/ or homemade skin creams containing a less toxic form of mercury — mercurious chloride, which is also known as calomel, according to the release.