The California Department of Public Health has issued a public health alert warning that skin-lightening or acne creams from Mexico (used for fading freckles, blemishes and age spots, as well as treating acne) have caused multiple cases of mercury poisoning in California.  The poisoning cases include several children and babies exposed to the mercury via contact with family members who used the products.

The creams are usually contained in plastic containers that either have no label, or hand-made labels.  Consumers should be on the lookout for creams that are light in color but turn dark grey/green after prolonged exposure to light.

In some cases, contaminated creams were purchased in either Jalisco or Michoacan, Mexico and brought into the USA, while others were sold on the street in California or through friends and family members.  In one reported instance, a pharmacy in Mexico altered a commercial skin cream by adding ingredients containing mercury and the product was brought into California.

Visit here to learn about commercial creams that have tested positive for inorganic mercury.