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Last Edited: 6/30/11

Health Alert! Mercury in Skin Creams
Written: 05/19/10


The Division of Environmental and Occupational Disease Control (DEODC) has been investigating several cases of mercury poisoning due to an unlabeled face cream from Mexico. The cream is used for lightening the skin, fading freckles and age spots, and treating acne. Creams collected and analyzed in the Food and Drug Laboratory Branch in the Division of Food, Drug and Radiation Safety have contained between 20,000 parts per million (ppm), 2.0%, and 56,000 ppm, 5.6%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration permits only trace levels of mercury (less than 1 ppm) in face cream products. On May 19, 2010 a Health Alert was released to notify California health care practitioners about the possibility of mercury toxicity from such creams. A one-page lay fact sheet in Spanish and English accompanied the Alert. Both documents can be downloaded below

For more information, or to request hard copies of the educational material, please contact Alyce Ujihara at the link below. To request information in Spanish, please contact Lori Copan at the link below.

Health Alert - Mercury in Creams (PDF, 104KB)

Spanish - Mercury in Creams (PDF, 140KB)

English - Mercury in Creams (PDF, 122KB) 

Este anuncio de servicio público fue emitido por radio en español durante el mes de julio de 2010 a lo largo de California para alertar al público acerca de las cremas para la cara que contienen mercurio.(This public service announcement aired during the month of July 2010 on Spanish-language radio throughout California to alert the public of face creams containing mercury and is available only in Spanish).

El mercurio en las cremas faciales - 30 Segundos (Anuncio de Servicio Públic)

El mercurio en las cremas faciales - 60 Segundos (Anuncio de Servicio Públic)