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Some skin lotions and antiseptic soaps claim to clean and lighten skin while removing freckles and wrinkles. Instead, these illegally imported cosmetic products make consumers ill from exposure to high levels of mercury.

The U.S. Government is warning consumers about these products after dozens of people in at least seven states were diagnosed with mercury poisoning. Victims include a woman in California who was hospitalized after using an unlabeled skin lotion for three years. Several members of her family also had high levels of mercury in their bodies, even though they didn’t use the lotion.

People who buy these products are not putting only their own health at risk, small children can also be exposed to mercury by breathing in the vapors of a skin lotion or by touching someone who has used the cream and then putting their fingers in their mouth.

How to Avoid These Products
The FDA prohibits the use of mercury in skin lotions and cosmetic soaps manufactured abroad. To avoid skin lightening and anti-aging products tainted with mercury, stay away from products that:

  • Do not clearly list ingredients on the label.
  • Include the words “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric,” “mercurio,” or “mercury” in their labels.
  • Have labels written in other languages unless they also include a clear description in English.

What to Do If Exposed to Mercury
Be alert for signs of mercury poisoning, which include irritability, changes in vision and hearing, memory loss, depression and numbness in the hands, feet or mouth.

If you suspect you have been using products tainted with mercury, stop using them immediately and do the following:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly as well as any other part of the body that might have come into contact with the product.
  • Contact your doctor or health clinic.

(VIA Fox News Latino)

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