Warning on toxic cosmetics

The fake make-up had been sold by rogue traders, and included well-known brands  such as MAC, Chanel and Benefit. The LGA  has warned consumers and legitimate businesses that the products can result in health problems, including chemical burns and skin rashes.

Cosmetics seized by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards included products that contained chemicals such as highly  toxic mercury and illegal levels of a skin-whitening agent.

One skin-lightening product contained a chemical called hydroquinone at a level of 10.8 per cent, which can cause liver, kidney and brain damage.

Cllr Simon Blackburn, Chair of the LGA’s Safer and Stronger Communities Board, said: “Counterfeit cosmetics can be dangerous as they can contain toxic chemicals and dangerously high levels of lead, which can be detrimental to people’s health.

“Fake designer products cost businesses and the taxpayer thousands of pounds each year. Councils have been targeting rogue retailers selling these fake products, and the fines they have received should deter others from selling these dangerous products.

“People should always do their research and take a pragmatic approach when they are buying make-up and cosmetics. Check the reviews of online sellers, and bear in mind that if something is really cheap, it’s likely to be fake and could potentially be harmful.

“Anyone who has purchased make-up that they think is dangerous should stop using it immediately and report it to their local trading standards team.

“It is vital that people report any concerns, so that councils can take action to prevent anyone being harmed or scarred for life.”

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