, Volume 7, Issue 4, pp 295-305
Date: 10 Nov 2011

Case Files of the Emory University Medical Toxicology Fellowship: Inhalational Mercury Toxicity from a Traditional Vietnamese Product

This is an excerpt from the content

Case Presentation

A 41-year-old woman attempted to treat her sinus congestion with a complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) product consisting of dime-size white pellets originally purchased in Vietnam by a family member who brought it with her to the USA. The remedy was obtained from one of her relatives who stated that treatment with these pellets had alleviated similar symptoms of other persons from her hometown in Vietnam. The patient was advised to heat the pellets on an electric stove for 2–3 days at various times, and inhale the fumes that were produced. After using the product for 2 days, she developed generalized malaise, dry skin, and poor appetite. She was later informed by a family member in Vietnam that the remedy may contain mercury and lead. She presented to her primary care clinic for metal testing, where initial total blood mercury (organic plus inorganic) and total blood lead concentrations were found to be 409 μg/L (normal, ≤10 μg/L) and 1 μg/L (normal, <10 μg/L ...

Portions of this manuscript were previously presented in abstract form at the North American Congress of Clinical Toxicology, Denver, CO, USA, Oct. 7–12, 2010.