Some Pond’s skin cream contaminated with mercury has left a woman in a coma for months. The cream was purchased online and imported from Mexico.
A woman from California has been in a semi-comatose state since July due to exposure to methylmercury. NBC News reports that the contaminant was Pond’s skin cream imported from Mexico.
Methylmercury is an especially toxic form of mercury, and it caused the 47-year-old woman to develop difficulty speaking and walking. Once she visited the hospital, lab results showed that her bloodstream contained 500 times the acceptable amount of mercury. The Pond’s skin cream she purchased, meant to treat skin spots and wrinkles, was reportedly contaminated by a third party.
“We do not use mercury in our products,” a Pond’s representative told NBC News. “We take this matter very seriously and work closely with all authorized retailers to be sure products remain intact and safe for use from shipment to shelf. Illegitimate sales, product tampering, and reselling are beauty industry issues that deserve close attention and consumer awareness. The product in question is not sold in the U.S.”
Health officials from Sacramento county are as shocked as anyone, claiming that this is the first time in the United States when someone has been poisoned by methylmercury through the use of a facial cream. Olivia Kasirye, the public health officer of the Department of Health Services of Sacramento, says that the U.S. public should immediately stop using similar products imported from Mexico. Authorities haven’t yet figured out if the contamination was intentional or an accident.
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Mercury poisoning can cause permanent damage to the nervous system, with some of it’s initial symptoms including memory loss, fatigue, numbness and anxiety. According to Kaisrye, once the chemical crosses the brain there’s no way to get it out.
If you normally purchase your products online or through retailers, be sure to do your research before hand. If you think you’ve been in contact with Pond’s products imported from Mexico, visit an emergency room as soon as possible.