The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently issued a consumer alert warning of the presence of mercury in some cosmetic and anti-aging products found in the United States.
Mercury has a range of very serious health consequences for people that come in contact with it.
The products contaminated with mercury have all been made in other countries.
They are being marketed as anti-aging products, skin lightening or bleaching creams, beauty or antiseptic soaps.
People who think they have been exposed to mercury should contact a health care provider immediately to ensure that they are not suffering from mercury poisoning.
Even people who have not actually used products are at risk if they have come into contact with someone who has.
Children are especially susceptible to secondary transmission routes such as breathing in fumes or touching someone who has used the product and then placing their hands in their mouth.
Check Ingredient List
Consumers should check the ingredient lists of any foreign cosmetics and anti-aging products to see if their particular product is affected.
If the ingredient list includes mercury, mercurio, mercuric, calomel or mercurous chloride, stop using it immediately.
All products that are safe for use in the United States have ingredient lists clearly posted in English on the label.
Seal any products suspected of containing mercury in a plastic bag and contact local authorities for disposal procedures.
Where Tainted Product Has Been Found
The tainted lotions and creams have been found in seven states so far including Texas, California, New York, Maryland, Virginia, Minnesota and Illinois.
The products found with mercury have all been manufactured abroad and offered for sale in the United States illegally.
They have been seized from stores in Middle Eastern, Latino, Asian and African neighborhoods as well as from retailers online.
Some of these creams and other anti aging products with dangerous amounts of the toxic metal inside have also been brought into the country for people’s personal use.
Mercury Poisoning Symptoms
Mercury poisoning can have some serious consequences. Some of the symptoms and signs of mercury poisoning include:
• Memory problems
• Changes in vision or hearing
• Numbness in hands, feet or the area around the mouth
Mercury Poisoning Consequences
Exposure to mercury can have serious consequences, even if the exposure was extremely limited. These consequences include:
• Skin irritation
• Eye irritation
• Increases in blood pressure or heart rate
• Lung damage
• Kidney or nervous system damage
• Interference with brain development in developing fetuses and young children
What to Do
If mercury exposure is suspected, contact poison control or a health care provider immediately.
Discontinue use of any remaining anti aging product and properly dispose of it according to household hazardous waste guidelines.
Make sure that any tainted product is sealed in a leak proof container or plastic bag.
Thoroughly wash any skin that has come into contact with the product with soap and water.
Do not use a product if the ingredient list is missing or not in English.
What kind of anti-aging products do you use?
Do you always check the ingredient list before you buy them?
***Article by Kevin Clarke, a Pharmacist, who currently runs Drugsdb.com website which provides health information for consumers on the top prescription and over-the-counter medications.
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