Earlier this month Trading Standards reported a number of counterfeit cosmetics were seized in the UK, as well as a number of fake tooth whiteners uncovered last week.
The issue is by no means a new one as counterfeiters target nearly every type of consumer product, and the CTPA warns the public to be aware.
“The cosmetics industry takes your safety seriously,” it says in a statement. “CTPA is concerned that such counterfeit and illegal products could jeopardise your safety and also threaten the trust that millions of consumer have in the many, many legal and safe products available and used today.”
The advice is simple: make sure products are bought from a reputable outlet and be suspicious of any products offered for sale from unusual places such as car boot sales, markets or less well-known internet sites.
The reasoning behind this is because using counterfeit products could cause actual harm. The authorities also say that proceeds from such crime also fund other serious organised crimes such as drugs, arms and people trafficking, ID theft, money laundering and child pornography amongst others.
“The problem with counterfeit products is that the packaging and look of the product can be almost impossible to tell from the real thing,” continues the CTPA.
“Unfortunately, the product inside is nothing like the genuine product. Not only is it not likely to work as well as it should, it may actually be unsafe and cause you harm.”
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The warning comes after Trading Standards Officers in the West Midlands seized a large quantity of fake make-up containing illegal amounts of heavy metals at the start of the month.
There were also reports last week that there has been a large seizure of tooth-whitening kits which were being sold illegally via internet sites for personal use. These kits were found to contain far in excess of the legally allowed levels of the ingredients used to help lighten teeth.
Tooth whitening products are legally classed as cosmetic products in Europe. This means they are covered by strict safety laws to ensure they are safe.
A commonly used tooth whitening ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, and the maximum level of this ingredient permitted in these cosmetic products is set to ensure consumer safety.
Cosmetic products containing much higher levels than the maximum permitted for retail sale would be illegal, and may be a potential risk to consumer health.