In March 2010, the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) investigated several cases of mercury poisoning due to use of an unlabeled skin cream product from Mexico. The unlabeled product is used to lighten the skin, fade freckles and age spots, and treat acne. The mercury content in the cream product exceeded that of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s acceptable level of mercury (less than 1 ppm) in cosmetic products. In May 2010, VDH issued a press release to notify potential users of unlabeled skin lightening creams. A list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) in Spanish and English accompanied the press release. All documents related to the 2010 investigation can be downloaded under "Quick Links."
In November 2011, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) was contacted about a skin cream sold in Mexico as "Crema Aguamary." These skin creams can cause serious health problems, and Virginia consumers are strongly encouraged to refrain from purchasing or using them. The Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) press release regarding this issue can be found here.
For more information, please contact the Division of Environmental Epidemiology at 804-864-8182.