Beware of unsafe cosmetic creams (with photos)

24 Jul 2009

The Customs and Excise Department today (July 24) urged members of public not to use two types of unsafe cosmetic cream with mercury content exceeding the safety standard.

Customs officers have recently drawn from the market samples of cosmetic creams for safety tests. Testing of samples of "Mui Lee Hiang - Cream for Acne & Blemishes" cosmetic cream by the Government Chemist found that the mercury content in the samples ranged from 4,200 parts per million (ppm) to 4,300 ppm. The tolerable limit of mercury content stipulated in the "Hygienic Standards for Cosmetics" of the National Standard of the People's Republic of China is 1 ppm.

So far, Customs has seized 31 boxes of "Mui Lee Hiang - Cream for Acne & Blemishes" cosmetic cream from a shop in Kowloon City. Enforcement actions are continuing.

Also, in a recent examination at the Customs Arrival Hall of the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal, Customs officers seized a total of 24 boxes of cream "戭??墧坾蝝?鋡芣?1撉琜???鋡芣?2撉琜?" in the suitcase of a male passenger. Tests conducted by the Government Laboratory revealed that the mercury content found in the samples of the seizure ranged from 6,900 ppm to 13,000 ppm.

According to professional advice from the Department of Health, mercury poisoning is caused by an overdose of mercury in the body, causing damage mainly to the nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms may include tremors, irritability, insomnia, memory deterioration, difficulty with concentrating, impaired hearing and vision or change in taste. In most severe cases, renal failure may occur.

A Customs spokesman noted that the department was committed to the protection of consumer interests by ensuring that consumer goods, including cosmetic products, were reasonably safe for use by consumers.

"The department keeps a close watch on unsafe products announced by local, Mainland and overseas authorities, and regularly conducts spot checks at retailers and draws samples for safety tests," he added.

Under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, it is an offence to supply, manufacture or import into Hong Kong consumer goods unless the goods comply with the general safety requirements for consumer goods.

The maximum penalty for the offence is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for one year on first conviction, and $500,000 and imprisonment for two years on subsequent conviction.

To report unsafe consumer goods, please call the Customs 24-hour hotline 2545 6182 or write to the Consumer Protection Bureau, Customs and Excise Department at 11/F, North Point Government Offices, 333 Java Road, North Point.

Ends/Friday, July 24, 2009

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