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Press Release

OC Health Care Agency Urges Consumers of a Vietnamese Hemorrhoid Ointment to Stop Use and Seek Medical Testing

Cao Bôi Trĩ Cây Thầu Dầu (Castor Oil Hemorrhoid Extract)

(Santa Ana, CA) – Due to the risk of lead poisoning, the OC Health Care Agency (HCA) urges users of the Vietnamese hemorrhoid ointment called Cao Bôi Trĩ Cây Thầu Dầu (Castor Oil Hemorrhoid Extract) to immediately stop using the ointment and to get their blood tested for lead. The alert follows the death of a woman in Sacramento who developed severe lead poisoning after using the ointment, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). The CDPH said the ointment, purchased in Vietnam and shipped to the US, contained 4% (four percent) lead. Exposure to any amount of lead can be harmful.  

The HCA, in collaboration with the CDPH, urges anyone who used Cao Bôi Trĩ Cây Thầu Dầu (Castor Oil Hemorrhoid Extract) to immediately:
1.) Stop using the ointment.
2.) Place it in a plastic bag, seal the bag and call (510) 620-3620 or email
3.) See your health care provider and get your blood tested for lead (venous blood test).  Also because other household members could have come into contact with the ointment, all household members should have their blood lead tested. Children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning.   
4.) Residents who have additional questions can call HCA’s Health Referral Line at 1-800-564-8448.

Anyone who has used the ointment can download a letter to take to their health care provider with instructions for blood lead testing. The letters are available from the CDPH in English by clicking here and in Vietnamese by clicking here. The CDPH has set up a website with more information

Health care providers who have questions can contact California Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for clinical guidance on lead poisoning. See Health-Based Guidelines for Blood Lead Levels in Adults (PDF) for specific recommendations based on your patient's blood lead level results.
The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) is a regional interdisciplinary health jurisdiction and an accredited health department, charged with protecting and promoting individual, family and community health through partnership and coordination of public and private sector resources. Visit to learn more about services and resources.