Skip Navigation LinksHome > January 2000 - Volume 42 - Issue 1 > Mercury Toxicity due to Use of a Cosmetic Cream
Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
Original Articles

Mercury Toxicity due to Use of a Cosmetic Cream

McRill, Cheryl MD, MPH; Boyer, Leslie V. MD; Flood, Timothy J. MD; Ortega, Luis MD, MPH

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Abstract

The Arizona Department of Health Services performed an investigation to determine the health effects associated with the use of a mercury-containing beauty cream. A urine test for mercury was offered to cream users who contacted the Arizona Department of Health Services. Those with urine mercury levels >20 μg/L were offered clinical evaluation. Eighty-nine urine specimens were submitted for testing. Of these, 66 showed an elevated urine mercury level (>20 μg/L), and 55 people were evaluated in clinic. There were no major abnormalities found through physical examination or laboratory testing. Urine mercury levels declined from an initial mean of 170 μg/L to 32 μg/L at the final test (mean, 139 days later). The high urine mercury levels indicate that the use of this cosmetic cream constitutes a significant exposure. Neuropsychiatric symptoms were frequently reported, but few objective signs were noted.

© 2000 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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