In an alarming development for skin-bleaching enthusiasts, a US woman is reported to have become partially blind after losing part of her vision due to using skin-bleaching chemicals.
The Minnesota woman, who is also a mother, lost her peripheral vision after using beauty creams containing toxic levels of mercury. Mercury is a highly poisonous metal.
CNN revealed the startling case. According to the news broadcaster, details of the woman becoming blind due to using skin bleaching creams were contained in a case study carried out by the Minnesota Poison Control System (MPCS). Dr Erin Batdorff of the MPCS warned that people can get mercury poisoning from some of the skin-bleaching chemicals.
Dr Batdorff, who is also a fellow in medical toxicology, warned that some of the skin lighteners are not properly labelled and have toxic side effects. “People have no idea. “No one intentionally wants to hurt themselves or their family members.
“But it’s out there, and you can’t see it, you can’t smell it. There’s no way [for consumers] to know whether [mercury] is in the creams or not because it’s not on the labels.” The unfortunate woman, whose identity has been withheld to protect her privacy, was referred to Dr Batdorff’s team after suffering several symptoms.
These include insomnia, leg pain, muscle weakness, fatigue and the loss of her peripheral vision.
Tests carried out by Dr Batdorff, and his team revealed that the woman, who is of Somali descent, had elevated levels of mercury in her blood and urine.
Unfortunately, according to Dr Batdorff, the woman’s partial blindness cannot be reversed. “She will not recover her vision. “So being a young woman that now has vision loss is really frightening and pretty concerning,” Batdorff told CNN.
The medical toxicologist also warned that many more people are likely being exposed to toxic mercury levels through skin-bleaching chemicals. He added that most may not be showing symptoms yet.
During their first home visit to the woman’s home Batdorff and the MPCA found two skin whitening beauty creams. The Minnesota woman said she was no longer using the bleaching products.
Tests revealed that the two skin bleaching products contained mercury levels several thousand times higher than the permitted levels of 1 part per million (ppm) in cosmetics.
Mercury was also not listed as one of the ingredients in the products.Skin bleaching is very popular in Africa, and many celebrities have publicly declared that they have no shame or concerns about bleaching their bodies.
One celebrity who is unashamed about bleaching her skin is South African actress Khanyi Mbau.
Speaking on her skin colour and colourism in the entertainment industry, Khanyi revealed that she spends around R10 000 a month maintaining her complexion.