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Public warned about unsafe cosmetic cream (with photo)

     The Department of Health (DH) today (May 29) appealed to members of the public not to buy or use a cosmetic cream called Santen, as it may contain excessive mercury, which is dangerous to health.

     The appeal followed the DH's receipt of notification of a case of allergic contact dermatitis from the Hospital Authority (HA) involving a 33-year-old female patient. The DH commenced investigation immediately.

     "The patient sought medical treatment from the Accident and Emergency Department of Queen Mary Hospital on May 1 because of itchy skin rash over the face and neck. She described a history of use of the above product starting on April 29. Allergic contact dermatitis was clinically suspected. She was discharged from hospital after treatment on May 2," a DH spokesman said.

     "The HA's laboratory test on the product sample submitted by the patient showed that the level of mercury was 16,227 times the acceptable level. Investigation revealed that the patient obtained the product from a friend. The DH's investigation is continuing," he 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 the ability to 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 health-care professionals whenever they feel unwell or are in doubt after using suspicious products," he added.

Ends/Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Issued at HKT 19:11


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