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The Dangers of Skin Whiteners

skin whitening cream container and modelHere's another twist in the long-standing effort to market sometimes dangerous skin whiteners within immigrant communities. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently warned consumers to steer clear of a skin whitening cream called “Crema Piel De Seda,” due to the risk of mercury poisoning.

The cream, manufactured in Mexico, is labeled in Spanish and sold primarily in Latino communities at flea markets and retail outlets. It's promoted to whiten skin, treat acne, and remove warts and blemishes.

Exposure to mercury can cause kidney and nervous system damage and interfere with brain development in children. Symptoms include irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, memory problems, depression, and numbness and tingling in hands, feet or around the mouth.

Read more from the FDA on how to report and safely dispose of the product here.

This is just the latest wrinkle in recurrent efforts to peddle dangerous skin-lightening products. For instance, the New York Times reported in 2010 on steroid-laced skin products stocked in Asian markets and sold to what a dermatologist described as "an amazingly international cross section of women of color."

Why did women buy the ultimately disfiguring products? Said one West Indies woman: she wanted "to be more accepted in society."

Read the Times story here.

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Health Education Materials in Translation, at Your Fingertips
Choose from more than 5100 translated health education materials in the languages most commonly spoken in Minnesota. Quickly and easily download them to your computer if your organization is a member of the Exchange. Start here…