The Food and Drug Administration is warning beauty product consumers that some foreign made anti-aging creams and skin lighteners being sold in the U.S. could lead to brain damage and kidney failure.
Skin creams, soaps and lotions from at least seven states were contaminated with the highly toxic substance, mercury.
Some of these products are sold online and in Latino, African, Asian or Middle Eastern neighborhoods, said National Health Fraud Coordinator of the FDA, Gary Coody.
These products have turned up in Texas, California, Virginia, Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois and New York so far.
The products claim to remove age spots, freckles, and a range of undesired skin conditions.
But the Center for Disease Control says mercury exposure has grave consequences, and even brief contact can cause lung damage, increases in blood pressure or heart rate, diarrhea, eye irritation and skin irritation, according to a CNN report.
More severe issues include kidney and nervous system damage, and interfering with the brain development of unborn children or young children. Other symptoms of mercury poisoning include vision and memory problems, tremors, depression, shyness and tingling sensations, the FDA said in a statement.
Many of these have ingredients that aren't written in english.
To see if products are contaminated, the product label should be checked for mercurous chloride, calomel, mercuric, mercurio or mercury. If those ingredients are present, stop using the product. If no ingredients are listed, use of the product should be discontinued.
If you suspect you may be suffering from mercury poisoning, contact a healthcare professional.
To read the FDA's consumer report on Mercury, click here: http://1.usa.gov/wig7rn