Cosmetics containing cancerogenic asbestos produced in China

07/10/2019 07:37 PM
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Taipei, July 10 (CNA) The Tainan City government has determined that four out of five foreign-branded beauty products recently found to contain cancer-causing asbestos, were in fact produced by a Chinese company rather than by a contract manufacturer in Taiwan as had been reported Tuesday.

Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) identified the contract maker Tuesday as coming from Tainan after it was informed by its U.S. counterpart and Health Canada that five beauty products under the brand names of Beauty Plus Global Inc.and Claire's Stores Inc.contain asbestos.

Informed by the FDA that the five problematic products were made by the Tainan-based company, the Public Health Bureau under the Tainan City government launched an investigation at the factory Wednesday, only to find that it denied producing the JoJo Siwa Makeup collection.

As for the other four products, the company said it turned the orders over to a cosmetics producer in China soon after receiving them.

Saying that the raw materials the Chinese manufacturer used meet Asian quality standards, the Tainan company argued that Chinese standards are different from those in the Americas and Europe.

Tainan health officials said the cosmetic products made in China were mainly sold to American and European dealers. Although production stopped in 2017, they may still be distributed because they have not yet passed their expiration dates.

As a result, the Tainan company was instructed to take the problematic products off store shelves as a precaution, the officials said, noting that the investigation to the other product's origin is still ongoing.

Among the five beauty products are Beauty Plus Global Inc.'s City Color Cosmetics Contour Effects Palette 2 Contour, Bronze, Highlight Lot No. S1603002/PD-C1179, according to the FDA, which said Tuesday that the product tested positive for chrysotile and tremolite asbestos.

In addition, four other beauty products under Claire's Stores Inc. -- Claire's Eyeshadows Lot No. 08/17, Claire's Compact Power Lot No. 07/15, Claire's Contour Palette Lot No. 04/17 and Jo Jo Siwa Makeup set Lot No. S180109 -- tested positive for asbestos fibers.

The five products have been removed from store shelves in the U.S. and Canada and the authorities there have advised consumers not to use them.

FDA specialist Huang Wei-sheng (黃維生) said the major ingredients in color cosmetics are minerals, and since asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral, it is possible that these beauty products contain it.

Huang said the FDA will continue its probe to determine whether the five products have been put on sale in the local market, as well as the amount of the products sold or to be sold here. He urged local consumers who own the five products to stop using them immediately.

According to Huang, asbestos is a banned ingredient for cosmetics in Taiwan, so based on the Cosmetic Hygiene and Safety Act, if beauty products in the local market are found to contain the material, the brand or manufacturer will face a fine ranging between NT$20,000 (US$641) and NT$5 million.

In case of severe violation of the law, the operating license of the cosmetics brand or producer will be suspended for one month to one year or even revoked altogether, Huang said.

(By Chang Jung-hsiang, Frances Huang and Elizabeth Hsu)


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