Author Topic: Sacramento CA woman poisoned by methylmercury iodide in skin-lightening cream  (Read 575 times)

Offline Mr. Bill

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In brief: a middle-aged Mexican-American woman obtained skin-lightening cream from Mexico through an informal network.  Such creams are frequently made with mercuric amidochloride ("ammoniated mercury"), mercuric iodide, or similar inorganic compounds, which reduce melanin production while slowly poisoning you.  In this case, the mercury was in the form of the unbelievably toxic methylmercury iodide, which had been mixed into a jar of Pond's skin cream by someone in Mexico, and distributed to the US via an informal network.

This is the first known case of methylmercury usage in a skin-lightening cream.  The woman is now semi-comatose and on a feeding tube, and is not improving.

ArsTechnica, 12/20/19: Woman had 524x the normal level of mercury in her blood from skin cream use

CDC Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 12/20/19: Notes from the Field: Methylmercury Toxicity from a Skin Lightening Cream Obtained from Mexico — California, 2019

Sacramento County Dep't of Health Services, 9/9/19: Sacramento Woman in Coma after Using Cream Tainted with Mercury

Background info from WHO, 2011: MERCURY IN SKIN LIGHTENING PRODUCTS

Offline David in MN

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I've read of this happening with Korean women and holy cow... You're going to ingest poison to get the perfect porcelain skin... I'm all in favor of getting healthier but any dude who wants you to kill yourself for attractiveness just ain't worth it.

Offline Prepper456

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the surest cure for vanity is death

Offline Mr. Bill

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the surest cure for vanity is death

Yeah, but it's a high price to pay for simple ignorance.  The woman probably trusted some friends who had been getting homemade skin-lightening cream from somebody in Mexico, and that person didn't know enough about chemistry to distinguish between mercury iodide (less bad) and methylmercury iodide (kills your brain).  And further back along the supply chain, whoever "liberated" a bottle of the chemical from somewhere also didn't know the difference.

Offline Fyrediver

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Nasty toxin; I remember one of the world's experts poisoned herself with dimethylmercury by using gloves that were permeable to it.  Lesson on life and proper PPE selection. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Wetterhahn