Warning: Mexican cosmetic cream can cause poisoning


by Wendy Rigby / KENS 5


Posted on September 6, 2011 at 4:20 PM

Updated Saturday, Oct 26 at 10:06 PM

SAN ANTONIO -- There’s a new warning about skin cream from Mexico. Some Texans who use it are showing up at doctors’ offices with toxic side effects.

The Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) and South Texas Poison Control are putting out the warnings. A cosmetic cream made in Mexico but used by some Texans has been linked to cases of mercury poisoning.
Skin creams promise younger-looking, even-toned, acne-free skin. Millions of women try all kinds to find the one that works best.
One product made in Mexico is marketed as Crema Aguamary. South Texas doctors found some women who used it started having bad side effects.
“One patient complained of abdominal pain and had some tremors. Her hand was shaking visibly,” explained Dr. Miguel Fernandez, director of the South Texas Poison Center. “She also had a lot of weakness. She was so weak she couldn’t even eat by herself.”
Most of the 20-plus cases so far have shown up in border towns like Mission, McAllen and Rio Grande City. The problem is high levels of mercury.
The Crema Aguamary tested showed inorganic mercury concentrations of up to 131,000 parts per million. The FDA restricts cosmetic products to no more than 1 part per million.
Mercury poisoning can cause headaches, tingling or numbing of the skin, weakness, seizures and tremors.
Two unborn babies were among those affected, as their pregnant mother used the product containing heavy metal.
“I do not think it’s unlikely that this cream will eventually make its way to other market areas besides the border region of Texas,” Fernandez said.
South Texas Poison Control, housed in the U.T. Health Science Center in San Antonio, will be taking calls from anyone with questions about the product. The number to call is 1-800-222-1222. Poison Control operators speak both English and Spanish. All calls are confidential and the phones are answered 24 hours a day.