FDA Warns Consumers About Use of "Litargirio"
From: Robina Suwol
Date: 11 Oct 2003
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
FDA Talk Paper
October 2, 2003
Media Inquiries: 301-436-2335
Consumer Inquiries: 888-INFO-FDA
FDA Warns Consumers About Use of "Litargirio" - Traditional Remedy That
Contains Dangerous Levels of Lead
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning the public not to use "LITARGIRIO"
for any health-related or personal purposes. Litargirio is a yellow- or
peach-colored powder manufactured by Roldan, Ferreira, and possibly other
laboratories in the Dominican Republic. It has no proven health benefits and,
because of its high lead content, poses health risks when used in
contact with the skin or ingested. These risks are particularly serious for
The powder has been used as a deodorant, a foot fungicide, a treatment for
burns and wound healing, and for other purposes as a traditional remedy,
particularly by people from the Dominican Republic. It contains up to 79 per
cent lead - a highly toxic substance that can cause permanent neurological
damage in children. FDA is warning consumers not to use Litargirio for any
personal purpose or any other purpose that provides opportunities for
ingestion. LITARGIRIO should not be used around children for any purpose.
FDA first learned about this product from the Rhode Island Department of
Health, which issued a health alert after discovering that several children
undergoing treatment for lead poisoning had been using "LITARGIRIO" as a
deodorant. The children's' blood lead levels had climbed to as high as four
times the level known to cause behavioral and cognitive problems even after
abatement of household lead sources and medical treatment. Their blood lead
levels began to decline only after use of "LITARGIRIO" was discontinued.
"LITARGIRIO" is sold in 2-inch by 3-inch clear packets by convenience and
specialty stores catering to Spanish-speaking customers - particularly those
from the Dominican Republic.
FDA advises the public to:
Stop all personal use of "LITARGIRIO" immediately.
Place unused product in a sealable container or plastic bag and contact your
local sanitation/waste department regarding appropriate methods for disposal.
Thoroughly wash hands and any other body parts that may have come in contact
with the powder. Wash affected household surfaces with soap and hot water.
Ask a health care provider to test children or pregnant/nursing women for lead
poisoning if they have used "LITARGIRIO".
For more information about lead and a list of local and state contacts, call
the National Lead Information Center Hotline at 1-800-424-5323.
FDA is working with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to alert
consumers about this problem.
Last changed: March 14, 2006