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A Woman's Skin Whitening Cream Gave Her Mercury Poisoning – Gizmodo

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A woman’s years-long beauty regimen caused severe mercury poisoning and irreversible neurological damage, say her doctors in a recent case report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention this month.

The 47-year woman’s ordeal was detailed in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a clearing house for public health information collected by the CDC from state health departments and local doctors.

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According to the report, the Sacramento, California resident sought medical care earlier this July when her arms developed involuntary muscle spasms and became extremely weak. Over the next two weeks, she deteriorated further and was unable to walk, speak and see normally, which led to her hospitalization. In the hospital, she experienced delirium, a state of serious mental confusion.

Two weeks into her hospitalization, blood test results showed that she had incredibly high mercury levels. Her blood contained more than 1,000 times the level of mercury compared to the average person. Interviews with her family soon after revealed that the Mexican American woman had been using skin whitening creams brought back from Mexico for at least seven years.

Mercury has long been popular as an ingredient in whitening creams because it can stop skin cells from producing melanin. But its toxicity eventually led countries across the world to ban or strictly restrict its use in cosmetic products, including the U.S. Yet companies in Mexico as well as many other countries still routinely add mercury to their skin creams.

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The woman’s ordeal was all the more tragic, however, because her cream was found to have organic mercury, rather than the inorganic mercury typically added to these products. Organic mercury is more toxic to the human body in smaller doses, especially to the brain, and victims are much less likely to recover once neurological symptoms have appeared. These symptoms, as in the woman’s case, can take months to years of exposure to manifest.

That isn’t to say skin care products made with inorganic mercury are safe either. They’ve been linked to kidney damage, skin rashes, scarring, as well as depression and psychosis. But inorganic mercury is easier to clear through chelation therapy, a technique to pull out toxic metals like both organic and inorganic mercury from the body.

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In this case, doctors began chelation as soon as they discovered mercury in her blood. But despite prolonged chelation therapy, the authors wrote, the woman hasn’t regained the ability to talk and she is unable to “care for herself, requiring ongoing tube feeding for nutritional support.”

According to the authors, this is the first case of organic mercury poisoning linked to skin whitening creams ever documented, and the first case of poisoning tied to a particular form of organic mercury called methylmercury seen in the U.S. in nearly a half century.

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The original source of the organic mercury in the woman’s skin cream is still unknown, the authors wrote, but California health officials are testing samples of other skin whitening creams for mercury. They’re also “investigating the case of a family member with likely exposure but less severe illness.”

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The Key Role of Trustworthy Babysitters in Balancing Work and Family Life

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Babysitters

Are you a busy parent in constant pursuit of the elusive work-life balance? We know firsthand how overwhelming and challenging it can be to juggle professional commitments while still having quality time with your children.

That’s why we’re here to discuss an essential ingredient that unlocks the secret to harmony: trustworthy babysitters.

What Characteristics Parents Should Look for When Choosing a Babysitter?

Parents should look for a few key characteristics when choosing a babysitter. A good babysitter should be patient, responsible, and reliable. They should also be comfortable with children and have prior experience caring for them.

Besides, the babysitter must be able to communicate effectively and follow directions well. The babysitter should be someone the parents can trust to care for their children in their absence.

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Strategies for Parents to Establish Reasonable Anticipations

As a parent, finding babysitters you can trust to care for your children is vital. However, it is also important to establish reasonable expectations for your babysitters.

Some tips for establishing reasonable expectations for babysitters include:

  1. Set clear expectations: Sit down with your babysitter to discuss bedtime routines, dietary preferences, and any necessary medications.
  2. Allow flexibility: While clarity is vital, also provide room for your babysitter to use their judgment and feel comfortable in their role.
  3. Trust their expertise: Once expectations are set, trust your babysitter’s judgment as a professional caregiver to avoid undermining their authority and creating discomfort in their role.

Determining a Fair Payment Plan

Determine your babysitting budget, factoring in your income and family size, while researching local rates. Account for the babysitter’s experience and qualifications, giving preference to those recommended by trusted sources.

Engage in open negotiations with your chosen babysitter. This aims to find a mutually agreeable arrangement that accommodates both your budget and their needs.

Tips on Finding Trustworthy and Compassionate Caregivers

When seeking a caregiver for your child, to ensure you find the right fit:

  • Seek recommendations from trusted sources such as friends, family, and neighbours who may have suggestions for caregivers in your area.
  • Conduct online research to review feedback and check references to gauge candidates’ qualifications and experience.
  • Request references and contact details from the caregivers’ previous employers or families they have worked with.
  • Trust your instincts and ensure you feel at ease with the caregiver, ensuring they are someone you can entrust with your child’s well-being.

Conclusion

Being able to trust your babysitter means you can have peace of mind knowing your child is safe and cared for.

Spending some time researching online reviews or asking friends and family for recommendations will help you find the perfect fit so you can feel more at ease while juggling work commitments in today’s hectic world.

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Facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home

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THUNDER BAY — St. Joseph’s Care Group and the Thunder Bay District Health Unit have declared a facility-wide COVID-19 outbreak at Bethammi Nursing Home, part of the St. Joseph’s Heritage complex on Carrie Street near Red River Road.

The respiratory outbreak at the 112-bed facility was declared effective Sept. 15 but only announced publicly on Monday.

No details were provided with regard to the number of people affected to date.

Restrictions are now in place for admissions, transfers, discharges, social activities and visitation until further notice.

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Alberta COVID hospitalizations up 73% since July: health minister

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Three weeks after the start of the school year, Alberta’s health minister provided an update on the spread of airborne viruses in the province.

Adriana LaGrange also said more information about flu and next-generation COVID-19 vaccines will soon be released.

“Now that we will be spending more time indoors, we need to make doubly sure we are following proper hygiene protocols like handwashing and staying home when sick,” LaGrange said. “It also means respecting those who choose to wear a mask.”

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Global News previously reported that influenza vaccines will be available on Oct. 16 with the new Moderna vaccine formulated to target the XBB.1.5 variant likely to be available at around the same time. On Sept. 12, Health Canada approved the use of the Moderna vaccine.

“More information on immunizations against respiratory viruses including influenza and COVID-19 will be available shortly,” the health minister said.

LaGrange said there have been 28 cases of influenza and five lab-confirmed cases of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) since Aug. 28.

“This is consistent activity for this time of the year,” the health minister said in a statement.

The end of August or the beginning of September has typically marked the beginning of flu season for provincial health authorities.

LaGrange also provided an update on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the province.

From Aug. 28 to Sept. 8, there were a total 92 new hospitalizations and three ICU admissions, bringing the total to 417 in hospital and seven in ICU, a 73 per cent increase of COVID hospitalizations from the last reported info.

On July 24 – the last update to the province’s COVID data dashboard – there were only 242 in hospital.

“Sadly, five Albertans died during that period due to COVID-19,” LaGrange said.

LaGrange said the reporting dashboard is being refreshed to include RSV, influenza and COVID-19 data, work that was originally expected to be completed on Aug. 30. The latest data on the province’s influenza statistics dashboard is dated July 22.

“This work is currently underway and will be available in the coming weeks,” LaGrange said.

She said data for the dates between July 24 and Aug. 27 will be available when the new dashboard goes online.

Amid more hospitals continent-wide reinstating masking requirements in the face of increased hospitalizations, the health minister made no mention of any such moves for Alberta hospitals. Acute care COVID-19 outbreaks in Alberta jumped from Sept. 5 to 12, with 146 per cent more healthcare workers and 55 per cent more patients testing positive for COVID.

LaGrange stressed the “collective responsibility” to prevent the spread of airborne viruses like COVID and influenza.

“As a mother and grandmother, I understand the anxiety that comes with sending your children back to school. I want to reassure you that Alberta’s government has the health and well-being of all young Albertans top of mind,” the health minister said.

–with files from Meghan Cobb, Global News

 

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