Woman slips into Coma after using Faial Cream laced with mercury

A California woman has been hospitalized after using a Pond’s-labeled face cream that had been tainted with a poisonous form of mercury, the Sacramento County Department of Health Services said in a news release.

The woman, whose identity has not been made public, bought the skin-lightening cream through an “informal network” from Mexico, and the methylmercury was added to the cream by a third party, officials said in the statement.

The woman has slipped into a semi-comatose state, officials said. According to NBC affiliate KCRA, her son said she’s been hospitalized since July.

“This is the first reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the United States,” said SCDHS.

A #Sacramento woman is in the hospital in a semi-comatose state after using a Pond’s-labeled skin cream tainted with methylmercury. This is the 1st reported case of methylmercury poisoning of this type linked to a skin cream in the US.

A company spokesperson told NBC News that it does not use mercury in its products.

“We take this matter very seriously and work closely with all authorized retailers to be sure products remain intact and safe for use from shipment to shelf,” Pond’s said in a statement to PEOPLE. “Illegitimate sales, product tampering and reselling are beauty industry issues that deserve close attention and consumer awareness. The product in question is not sold in the U.S. We are concerned about the woman who had this experience and are working with authorities to investigate the matter. “

Methylmercury has been known to cause damage to the nervous system, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can caused developmental abnormalities and cerebral palsy among children born to women poisoned with methylmercury.

“Sacramento County Public Health urges the community to immediately stop using similar skin creams imported from Mexico due to the risk of contamination with methylmercury,” Sacramento County Public Health Officer Dr. Olivia Kasirye said in the SCDHS statement. “Methylmercury is extremely dangerous to adults and children.”

Officials said in the statement that symptoms of methylmercury poisoning include memory loss, depression, fatigue headaches, and more. Symptoms among children include pink hands and feet, flaking skin, high blood pressure, and rash.

“Sacramento County Public Health is working closely with the California Department of Public Health to test similar creams in the Sacramento-area for methylmercury,” officials said in the statement.

Over the last nine years, there have been over 60 poisonings linked to a foreign brand, unlabeled, or homemade skin creams that contained toxic chemicals like mercury, mercurous chloride or calomel in California.

Authorities have urged anyone who uses imported skin creams from Mexico to stop use immediately, place the cream in a sealed back, take it to a doctor, and get tested for mercury.