Dangerous cosmetics discovered in UK


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Dangerous cosmetics discovered in UK

Related tags: Cosmetics, Uk

Luton Borough Council's trading standards service have issued a safety warning about buying cosmetics after seizing 640 contaminated products which were on sale locally.

Many of the products tested were found to contain high levels of dangerous and prohibited chemicals such as mercury and PPD.  They also contravened UK labeling requirements for cosmetics.

The seized items included skin whiteners and hair and skin care creams.

Trading Standards officers have urged retailers to only buy beauty products from known suppliers and to avoid cosmetics such as eye liners, lipsticks and mascaras if not correctly labelled.

They have warned that such products may contain banned chemicals or heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.


A statement from LTS noted that evidence suggested that India or Pakistan have been the primary source of the products.

Concerning the trade in illegal cosmetics in the UK, a spokesperson said: “some of these products may come from outside the EU, but some of them may have been manufactured inside it as well.”

Cllr Mohammed Ashraf, portfolio holder for the Authority, said: “The seized cosmetic products appear to be from outside Europe and are missing the importer details which should get the products safety assessed and hold the information about them.”

“The Council’s Trading Standards service is asking local retailers to check their stock and remove any potentially dangerous cosmetics from sale, and officers are continuing with spot checks on retailers.”

May revelations

The tainted products’ discovery comes just four months after 14 brands of face creams were seized in Luton for containing mercury.

These products, which were also in breach of EU labeling requirements, were reported to have contained up to 13,900 milligrams per kilo of the heavy metal.

Many of the products found in March had the same brand labels as those revealed this month, such as Stillmans and Faiza. The contaminated creams were also discovered to have originated from outside the European Union.

Health risks

Mercury is a neurotoxin which can potentially cause damage to the kidneys, brain and nervous system. It also causes facial scarring and can lead to developmental problems in children.

PPD can cause burn-like reactions when applied directly to the skin, as well as increased sensitivity to the chemical.

A statement from the Trading Standards Borough said: “Lead can affect major organs and in the worse cases can lead to seizures, coma and even death.”

“Arsenic can lead to convulsions, headaches, diarrhoea. It can affect the lungs, liver and kidneys and has been linked to heart disease, cancer and stroke. Again, in worse cases, it can lead to death."




Related topics: Regulation & Safety

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