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December 1996

Mercury Poisoning Associated With Beauty Cream—Texas, New Mexico, and California, 1995-1996

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(12):1533-1534. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890360127037

The Texas Department of Health (TDH), New Mexico Department of Health (NMDH), and San Diego County Health Department (SDCHD) recently investigated three cases of mercury poisoning among persons who had used a beauty cream produced in Mexico. The investigations implicated the beauty cream as the source of the mercury. The cream, marketed as "Crema de Belleza—Manning," lists "calomel" (mercurous chloride) as an ingredient and was found to contain 6%-8% mercury by weight. This report summarizes the ongoing investigation of these and other possible cases.

Case 1.  In September 1995, a previously healthy 15-year-old boy who resided in Texas near the Mexico border had onset of fatigue, weakness, insomnia, myalgias of his extremities, severe headache, sore throat, cough, constipation, and paresthesias of his feet and hands. On September 16, a physician in Piedras Negras, Mexico, prescribed symptomatic treatment for the paresthesia and cough. Subsequent problems included loss of taste, weight loss

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