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Mercury poisoning associated with a Mexican beauty cream.

AbstractOBJECTIVES:
To describe demographic characteristics, patterns of use, and symptoms associated with mercury poisoning among persons who used a Mexican beauty cream containing mercurous chloride and to estimate the prevalence of cream use in Texas near the Mexico border.
DESIGN:
Case series and cross-sectional survey.
SETTING:
Border communities of Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Texas.
PARTICIPANTS:
Persons who used the cream and contacted a health department in response to announcements about the cream and households that participated in the Survey of Health and Environmental Conditions in Texas Border Counties and Colonias, 1997.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:
Urine mercury concentrations, self-reported symptoms, and prevalence of cream use among households.
RESULTS:
Of 330 cream users who contacted their health department, 96% were women, and 95% were Hispanic. The mean urine mercury concentration was 146.7 microg/L (reference range : 0-20 microg/L). In 5% of 2,194 randomly selected Texas households near the Mexico border, at least 1 person had used "Crema de Belleza-Manning" (Laboratorios Vida Natural, S.A., Tampico, Tamaulipas, Mexico) in the previous year.
CONCLUSIONS:
Most cream users had increased urine mercury concentrations. Cream use was common in Texas near the Mexico border. Physicians should consider toxicity in patients with neurologic symptoms of unclear cause and use public health departments when investigating unusual illnesses.
AuthorsM M Weldon, M S Smolinski, A Maroufi, B W Hasty, D L Gilliss, L L Boulanger, L S Balluz, R J Dutton
JournalThe Western journal of medicine (West J Med) Vol. 173 Issue 1 Pg. 15-8; discussion 19 (Jul 2000) ISSN: 0093-0415 [Print] UNITED STATES
PMID10903281 (Publication Type: Comparative Study, Journal Article, Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't)
Chemical References
  • Cosmetics
  • Mercury Compounds
  • Mercury
  • calomel
Topics
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cosmetics (chemistry, poisoning)
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Mercury (urine)
  • Mercury Compounds (urine)
  • Mercury Poisoning (epidemiology, urine)
  • Mexico
  • Middle Aged
  • Prevalence
  • Product Surveillance, Postmarketing (statistics & numerical data)
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Southwestern United States (epidemiology)

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