One family from Sacramento, California, is grieving after their mother became ill and lost virtually all motor functions due to a mercury poisoning that experts say is the first of its kind in the US.
Jay, the California woman’s son, told local Sacramento news outlet KTXL that his mother quickly became sick at the end of June and was taken to the hospital for a week after using a special kind of Pond's Rejuveness Anti-Wrinkle Cream that she had been importing from Jalisco, Mexico, through a friend for 12 years.
Though she had been using the cream without any issues for over a decade, doctors were eventually able to identify this recent batch was tainted with methylmercury, a form of mercury that is toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems
“We shouldn't have any mercury in our body,” a public health educator with the Sacramento County Health Department told KTXL. “But if you did, you would want it less than five [parts per million]. Hers was over 2,600 parts per million.”
Jay informed the outlet that his mother had the cream imported because she knew it contained an additive. In fact, the woman’s son described the enhancement mixed into the formula as “helpful product” prior to the recent tragedy.
During her time at the hospital, Jay’s mother quickly began to lose control of her speech, motor function and self-awareness.
“You know, she doesn't speak, and we're not really sure if she's fully focused looking at us and stuff. She can't get up, stand, walk or none of that,” Jay explained to KTXL. “She's just kind of bed-bound.”
Pond’s, which has nearly 10 million followers on Facebook, has not issued an official statement concerning the presence of mercury in their products. However, user Jan Jones Gross openly questioned their practices, asking them, “How could you use Mercury in your [Rejuveness] dangering women, so little regard.”
“Hi Jan, POND’S only designs, manufactures and clears for sale products that are safe for consumers. We do not use mercury in our products,” responded the company on Wednesday.