CHP urges public not to use unsafe facial whitening cream (with photos)

     The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health today (April 11) urged the public not to buy or use two facial whitening cream products (see photos) as they contain excessive mercury, which is harmful to health.

     The appeal followed the CHP's investigation into a case of mercury poisoning involving a 44-year-old female patient notified by the Hospital Authority (HA).

     The patient developed swelling of lower limbs last month and reported recent use of the above two products for around three months. Her urine and blood samples revealed mercury levels higher than the reference levels, which was clinically suspected to be related to the use of the products.

     Testing by the HA revealed that the levels of mercury in the two products submitted by the patient were 5 942 times (day cream) and 5 233 times (night cream) the acceptable level. While the CHP's investigation is continuing, the case has also been referred to the relevant law enforcement agency for follow-up.

     "Chronic exposure to mercury can cause damage to the nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms may include tremors, irritability, insomnia, memory deterioration, difficulty concentrating, impaired hearing and vision, and changes in the taste function. In severe cases, renal failure may occur," a spokesman for the CHP said.

     "As the content of mercury in both products far exceeded the acceptable level, their use may cause serious side effects. People who are using the products should stop immediately and consult healthcare 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 obtained from doubtful sources," the spokesman added.

Ends/Wednesday, April 11, 2018
Issued at HKT 17:27