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Tainted Face Cream Puts Woman In Coma

A 47-year-old California woman has been in a semi-comatose state for weeks after using a Ponds-labeled skin cream that was tainted with methylmercury — a very toxic form of mercury, according to NBC news.


It’s the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning from a skin cream in the U.S. and the woman was found to have more than 500 times the acceptable amount of mercury in her blood. The skin cream was from an “informal network” that imported it from Mexico and the methylmercury was not added by the manufacturer of Ponds products, but by a third party, the report said.

Of the 13,000 chemicals used in cosmetics, only 10% have been tested for safety. Unlike other products such as drugs, biologics and medical devices, personal care products do not receive any prior approval by any agency. The only time the U.S. Food and Drug Administration gets involved is when someone is harmed by the product or the product has been misbranded or adulterated.

The European Union has banned more than 1,000 chemicals; the U.S. has banned 10.

This means that whenever you use body lotion, deodorant, shampoo, nail polish or other personal care products, you could be applying harmful chemicals to your body, even if the product claims to be nontoxic and safe.

You can find information and protect yourself by using the Environmental Working Group database to find safe personal care products.

A multitude of dangerous chemicals in personal care and cleaning products can be included under the ingredient, “fragrance.” There’s an average of 136 chemicals in a single cleaning product and an average of 146 in a personal care product, many of which have been linked to cancer, birth defects, endocrine disruption and more.

A study by several groups found the top 10 most hazardous products included children’s shampoo, a number of women’s perfumes, a popular body spray marketed to male teens and an industrial cleaner used by firefighters.

The team conducted tests on 140 personal care and cleaning products, the lowest of which, yellow soap, had 46 chemicals, while a shower and tub cleaner had 229. Of the 25 personal care products tested, only three had less than 100 and none had less than 75.

The FDA has known for years that mercury poisoning is linked to a number of skin products, and even issued a statement in 2012 that mercury exposure can damage your kidneys and nervous system and interfere with brain development in unborn children and very young children. The products the FDA warning was referring to were primarily skin lighteners and antiaging treatments, most of which are manufactured in other countries and sold illegally in the United States.

Remarkably, this warning was issued years ago by the same agency that to this day has refused to acknowledge or address the dangers inherent with dental amalgams, which contain about 50% mercury — not silver, as the name “silver fillings” might imply.

When asked to explain the apparent contradiction in the agency’s position on mercury safety between mercury amalgams and mercury in lotions, the FDA refused to answer, stating it did not have any further comments regarding the issue of dental amalgam.

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