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Women May Be Unintentionally Poisoning Themselves by Using Mercury-Tainted Makeup

When a woman goes to the drugstore to buy cosmetics, she has an inherent right to expect that the makeup she purchases won’t kill her. Under Illinois law, Illinois products liability lawsuits may arise when manufactures and distributors of products disseminate hazardous or contaminated products to the public, and persons are harmed as a result. The corporations may then be held legally responsible for any injuries caused by the flawed merchandise. This is because companies have an essential responsibility to test their products before putting them on the market to ensure their safety.

Nevertheless, according to the latest report by MSNBC, women in at least seven states may have been unwittingly slathering poison on their faces by using cosmetics contaminated by unsafe levels of mercury.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a statement warning consumers that to date, 35 products sold as soaps, skin creams, and lotions have been identified as containing dangerous amounts of mercury.

Mercury is a metal that occurs in a liquid form that is generally used in thermometers and in powering phosphoric lighting. It is considered highly toxic, and ingestion or inhalation can lead to mercury poisoning, which can lead to illness and even death. Mercury is also readily absorbable through skin, and this type of use may lead to complications as well. Though the FDA reports that the levels of mercury in the cosmetics in question is fairly low, mercury, similarly to lead and many other poisons, accumulates in the body, ultimately producing toxic effects such as damage to the nervous system and organs.

In the case of these dangerous types of makeup, consumers could potentially be unintentionally giving themselves small doses of poison that may ultimately kill them. Though a doctor is best able to diagnose mercury poisoning, some symptoms are reported to include sensory impairment (vision, hearing, speech), disturbed sensation and a lack of coordination, as well as skin discoloration, and shedding of skin. The type and degree of symptoms exhibited depend upon the individual victim, the amount of the mercury dose, and the method and duration of exposure. Although many of the toxic effects of mercury are partially or wholly reversible, heavy or prolonged exposure has been known to cause irreversible damage, especially in small children, the elderly, or persons with weakened immune systems.

In addition to women having the potential to accidentally poison themselves, concern arises for small children: “Mercury can vaporize and people breathe it in,” explained FDA spokesperson Siobhan DeLancey. “That makes it particularly dangerous for infants and small children. They are likely to be picked up and held close to the face. Also, they are so young, and small, and the mercury will accumulate over a lifetime.”

When companies are held responsible in Illinois product liability lawsuits – such as those that may arise if women are harmed by the mercury-tainted makeup – they may be made to pay compensatory damages, which attempt to put an injured person back in the position he or she was in before being injured, such as compensation for medical and hospital expenses, and the loss of a normal life following the injury. Additionally, if the accumulation of mercury inadvertently leads to death, the family of a victim may file an Illinois wrongful death lawsuit, which allows relatives and loved to receive compensation for their loss; this often comes in the form of damages for loss of companionship, or damages for lost wages that the individual would have otherwise contributed to supporting his or her family.

Our Chicago personal injury lawyers want people to be careful. According to the FDA’s website, not all products containing mercury will use the word “mercury” on the labels; instead other names, like “mercurous chloride,” “calomel,” “mercuric” and “mercurio” may be listed. Stop using cosmetics contaminated with mercury immediately, and contact a doctor or a local Poison Control Center to determine if you have symptoms of mercury poisoning. Additionally, an attorney may be able to advise you of your rights under the law.