A California woman has been left semi-comatose after using a skin cream from Mexico contaminated with mercury.
The anonymous woman purchased the Pond’s skin cream “through an informal network,” according to Sacramento County Public Health.
Officials say that it wasn’t the popular skincare brand that added the poisonous chemical, but a third party.
An official call to halt use of all similarly imported products was released by Dr. Olivia Kasirye, Sacramento County Public Health officer.
The 150-year-old American skin care brand released a statement regarding the product.
“The product in question is not sold in the U.S. We are concerned about the woman who had this experience and are working with authorities to investigate the matter,” the statement said. “We strongly recommend only purchasing Pond’s products from trusted retailers.”
In a formal statement, she said: “Sacramento County Public Health urges the community to immediately stop using similar skin creams imported from Mexico due to the risk of contamination with methylmercury.”
Per a statement shared to Sacramento County’s official Facebook page, this is “the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the United States.”
The statement goes on to say that the type of cream is used to lighten skin and remove spots and wrinkles.
According to Sacramento County Public Health, symptoms of mercury poisoning include difficulty concentrating, memory loss, nervousness, irritability, anxiety, depression, insomnia, headaches, weight loss, fatigue, tremors, numbness or tingling in hands, feet or around the lips.
Their website states that there have been over 60 poisoning cases linked to foreign brands, unlabeled and homemade skin creams, over the last nine years in California alone.
As of this writing, there have been no reported incidents of this taking place in Canada.