Northern California woman permanently injured from tainted skin-lightening cream

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Sacramento woman suffers permanent injuries and is unable to speak or care for herself after using a skin-lightening cream.

The 47-year-old has the first case of mercury poisoning in the U.S. that's linked to a skin cream, according to a report released in late December from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

In July, the woman visited the doctor for an odd pricking sensation and arm weakness, and two weeks later, she returned with blurry vision and slurred speech.

Doctors at UCSF treated her for abnormally high levels of methylmercury, a form of organic mercury, which is highly toxic and can cause permanent nervous system damage.

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Her family told doctors that she used a skin-lightening cream from Mexico twice daily, for the past seven years.

The cream, Pond's Rejuveness was purchased through her friends to erase blemishes and wrinkles, but it was tainted with methylmercury after its manufacturing.

Officials tested the cream and found that it contained 12,000 parts per million of methylmercury, an illegal amount to be sold in the States.

The Center is working to warn the public of this health risk and actively screening other skin lightening cream samples for mercury.
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