A 47-year-old woman, a mother of five, went to the A&E in complaining of a feeling of numbness in her hands and feet. She also had speech problems and had difficulty walking. According to KCRA-TV, the woman was poisoned because of the amount of mercury in her anti-wrinkle cream, imported from Mexico City.
According to Olivia Kasirye, public health officer for Sacramento County, the patient was poisoned with a beauty product containing methylmercury, the most toxic organic form of mercury.
According to Olivia Kasirye, this is the first poisoning with this type of mercury from a face cream in American history. In addition, Ms. Kasirye drew attention to the dangers of creams purchased in Mexico City. Olivia Kasirye told CBS.
We don't know if the mercury was added intentionally or by mistake.
Exposure to methylmercury
We are all regularly exposed to methylmercury by eating fish in particular. In high doses, methylmercury is particularly dangerous to the health of our central nervous system, especially in pregnant women, as it can disrupt infant development.
But does that mean we have to stop eating fish? No, according to the Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety (ANSES), which states:
With regard to the nutritional benefits associated with fish consumption, the Agency has assessed the risks associated with this substance in order to determine frequencies of fish consumption that do not pose a health risk in this respect.
Fish is an excellent source of essential fatty acids and proteins, which is why the ANSES recommends eating fish twice a week and diversifying the species that are consumed. For special cases such as pregnant women and children under 30 months of age, the agency recommends avoiding fish with a high methylmercury content such as swordfish, marlin and sharks and limiting the consumption of fish ‘likely to be highly contaminated’ to 5 ounces per week for pregnant women and 2 ounces per week for children under 30 months.