WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A Pond’s-labeled face cream imported from Mexico was found to be contaminated with methylmercury.
- A California woman who used the lightening cream was hospitalized and is in a semi-comatose state.
- Sacramento County Department of Health Services advises the public to stop using similar creams from Mexico as they could also be tainted with poisonous methylmercury.
One California woman purchased a Pond’s-labeled face cream from an “informal network” from Mexico. After using it, she was hospitalized and is in a semi-comatose state, said a news release from the Sacramento County Department of Health Services (SCDHS). The statement from officials also said that a third party tainted the lightening cream with the poisonous substance called methylmercury. According to KCRA, an NBC affiliate, her son said that the unnamed woman has been in the hospital since July.
A #Sacramento woman is in the hospital in a semi-comatose state after using a Pond’s-labeled skin cream tainted with methylmercury. This is the 1st reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the US.
— Sacramento County (@SacCountyCA) September 10, 2019
The SCDHS says that this case of methylmercury poisoning linked to a skin cream is the first to be reported in the United States. A Pond’s spokesperson told NBC News that it doesn’t use mercury in its products. In a statement to PEOPLE, the company also said that working closely with retailers to ensure the safety of products until they reach the shelves to be sold is a matter they take very seriously.
“Illegitimate sales, product tampering and reselling are beauty industry issues that deserve close attention and consumer awareness.” The company also stated that they are doing what they can to work with authorities to investigate the incident.
Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health Officer, said in the SCDHS statement that those using similar skin creams coming from Mexico should hold off due to the possibility of the products being contaminated with methylmercury. “Methylmercury is extremely dangerous to adults and children.”
Officials also say Sacramento Public health is working with the California Department of Public Health in the Sacramento area to test other similar creams for methylmercury contamination.