Safety warning after dangerous cosmetics seized

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Before buying cosmetics or hair colourants, do you check the label?

Luton Borough Council’s Trading Standards service has issued a safety warning for consumers and retailers after recently seizing 640 products on sale locally which were not correctly labelled in line with UK law.

Testing revealed many of the products contained banned or dangerously high levels of chemicals in the following facial skin lightening creams: Stillmans, Faiza, Pearl, Seven Herbal Ubtan and Roop Amrit. Potentially dangerous henna included hair products Moon Star and skin product Rani Kone Black. Testing on other seized products is under way.

The facial whitening creams contained mercury which is banned from all EU products. Mercury is poisonous and can damage the kidneys, skin, brain and nervous system. Pregnant women using skin lightening creams containing mercury could potentially harm their unborn baby. Breast feeding mothers using these creams may have mercury in their milk, which is then passed on to their infant.

PPD (p-phenylenediamine) is a chemical banned from skin products. It can cause nasty reactions if applied directly to the skin, producing a swollen and sore red burn-like mark and increased sensitivity to PPD. Although up to 2 per cent PPD is permitted for use in hair colourants, these products must carry special warning labels and clear instructions; hair colourants containing it should not be used by anyone under 16.

Cllr Mohammed Ashraf, portfolio holder for Trading Standards, said: “The seized cosmetic products appear to be from outside Europe and are missing the importer details who 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.”

He added: “We are also urging local people to check their own supplies and not to use any cosmetic product which is not properly labelled, tell us where they bought it. Anyone who has been using these products and feels unwell should contact their GP.”

Trading Standards officers are also urging retailers to buy beauty products from known reliable suppliers and not to stock cosmetics including eye liners, lipsticks and mascaras unless they are correctly labelled because they may contain mercury and/or other banned chemical such as arsenic and lead.

For further advice please call Trading Standards on 01582 547262 or use ERWIN web site -