AP NEWS

California woman suspected of selling mercury-bearing cream

November 20, 2019

VISALIA, Calif. (AP) — Federal prosecutors say a central California woman has been arrested on suspicion of selling skin creams tainted with dangerous levels of mercury.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office said Tuesday that Maria Estela Esparza Magallanes sold the creams using Facebook ads. It’s not known if she has an attorney.

The San Luis Obispo Tribune reports the ads promised the illegal products — smuggled into the U.S. from Mexico — would treat acne, remove age spots and lighten skin color.

Mercury-tainted face creams have prompted recent warnings from California’s Department of Public Health. In July a Sacramento woman was hospitalized “in a semi-comatose state” after using a skin cream tainted with mercury.