Public warned about unsafe cosmetic cream
4 May 2012
The Department of Health (DH) today (May 4) appealed to members of the public not to buy or use a cosmetic cream called "DOKTER PEMUTIH SPECIAL", as it may contain excessive mercury that is dangerous to health.
The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification of a suspected mercury poisoning case from the Hospital Authority (HA) involving a 29-year-old female patient. The DH commenced the investigation immediately.
"The patient sought medical treatment from United Christian Hospital on March 17 because of swelling of lower limbs. She described a history of persistent use of the above product for three months at the end of last year. Mercury poisoning was clinically suspected. She was discharged from hospital after treatment on March 19.
"The HA's laboratory test on the product sample submitted by the patient showed that the level of mercury was 12,202 times that of the acceptable level. Investigation revealed that the product was bought by the patient from Indonesia," a DH spokesman said.
"Chronic exposure to mercury can cause damage to the nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms may include tremors, irritability, insomnia, deterioration of memory, difficulty in concentration, impaired hearing and vision, and change in taste. In the most severe cases, renal failure may occur," the spokesman explained.
"As the product may cause serious side effects, people who have used the above product should stop using it immediately and consult health-care professionals as soon as possible if they feel unwell or are in doubt.
"Members of the public are urged not to buy or use cosmetic products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources as the consequences can be serious. They should consult healthcare professionals whenever they feel unwell or are in doubt after using suspicious products," the spokesman added.