Fatal poisoning from hemorrhoid cream highlights lead risks

Study reveals lead contamination in Chicago’s drinking water 02:32

The fatal poisoning of a California resident who had ordered a Vietnamese herbal ointment for hemorrhoids online is a recent example of lead — a dangerous and toxic metal — showing up in imported products. The list in recent months has included items ranging from apple sauce , ground cinnamon and bracelets to sippy cups , water bottles and dark chocolate .

Local officials issued a public health alert after a woman in Sacramento developed severe lead poisoning and died after using a hemorrhoid ointment from Vietnam called Cao Boi Tri Cay Thau Dau. The California Department of Public Health tested a sample of the ointment and found it contained what it described as “a highly dangerous amount of lead,” or 4%, according to the county’s alert.

The deceased woman had purchased the ointment on Facebook, and it was mailed to the U.S. by a relative in Vietnam, the agency stated in a news release. It was not immediately clear if people can buy the ointment directly in the U.S. But any consumers with the ointment should stop using it and get their blood tested for lead, California health officials advised.

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