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High mercury in Mexican facial cream may have sickened Tucson child


(NaturalNews) A facial cream from Mexico is coming under fire, as a child in Tucson faces some serious health problems after being exposed to it.

State workers are currently testing the cream to determine its contents and find out what role it played in the child's medical problems. Poisoning experts say that certain face creams that come from Mexico and places in Asia contain the dangerous chemical mercury, which is often used to lighten skin.

Last Wednesday, local, state and federal officials responded to what was being referred to as a "hazardous materials situation" in the young girl's home. Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center officials took samples of the face cream to be analyzed by the lab at Arizona State to determine if the cream caused the reaction, although other possible sources are also being looked into.

The health department has asked people who are using the Mexican creams known as Nene Gardoqui and Mireya to discontinue use immediately and bring the products to a drop-off site for the Tucson Household Hazardous Waste Program. They also recommend inspecting the ingredients lists of all skin lightening and anti-aging products to ensure that they do not contain mercury.

Mercury is particularly dangerous for children

Mercury can cause serious harm to children's developing nervous systems. Dr. Mazda Shirazi of the Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center said that adults are not usually affected by this type of exposure because of the developed nature of their nervous systems, but children are a lot more vulnerable.

In fact, a child does not even need to use the cream directly to experience a reaction. For example, if the child comes into contact with the face or hands of an adult who has used the cream, a severe reaction could occur.

Dr. Shirazi said: "A problem with mercury is, at our temperatures above a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit, mercury in an inorganic form can vaporize, meaning turn into a vapor into the air, then be inhaled into the system and cause problems."

Mercury has long been used in face creams. In fact, when the pale white skin look was in vogue, men and women in ancient Rome used a mixture of sublimate of mercury and white lead to peel their skins. It was also an ingredient in a freckle ointment used in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

The state of Minnesota has officially banned the use of mercury in skin-lightening creams, as well as in mascara and eyeliners. While many brands of makeup have phased out its use, mercury is still present in some products, where it's being used as a preservative.

Although the FDA does oversee cosmetics, they don't have to go through the same clinical trials that medications must undergo before hitting the market. It's more of an after-the-fact kind of oversight in which unsafe products are only taken off the market after they have been proven to be unsafe.

It's not just skincare and makeup

Mercury is also found in fish – nearly every single type! That's why it is important to have a good idea of which fish have the highest levels of mercury so you can make safe eating choices. As Mike Adams, The Health Ranger, points out in his book Food Forensics: The Hidden Toxins Lurking in Your Food and How You Can Avoid Them for Lifelong Health, bigger fish with longer lifespans tend to accumulate the most mercury. This means it's best to avoid seafood such as swordfish, king mackerel, shark and tuna.

There is a lot more useful advice in the book, helping people avoid toxins that they might not even have known exist. If you think the presence of mercury in a face cream is shocking, you won't believe what else is hiding in common grocery items and supplements!

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