Four cosmetic products (pics below)were found to have been adulterated with undeclared, potent Western medicine that are potentially hazardous to users, said the Ministry of Health (MoH).
In a statement, the ministry said the Karisma Cosmetic Sparkle Skin’s Karisma Preventing Day Cream and Karisma Perfect UV Sunscreen; and the JF Kejelitaan Inspirasiku JF Cream Herba were found to contain mercury.
The JF Kejelitaan Inspirasiku JF Cream Treatment was also found to contain hydroquinone, a substance prohibited in skincare cosmetic products under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations.
Hydroquinone is used in Western prescription medicines to treat skin conditions and unsupervised use of the substance may cause skin hypersensitivity, skin discolouration and increase risk of skin cancer.
Meanwhile, mercury is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its hazardous effects on human health, as it is readily absorbed through the skin and accumulates. Exposure to mercury causes skin rashes, memory loss and muscle weakness while high exposure may result in damage to the brain and kidneys. It is also extremely toxic to unborn children.
The ministry said it has not approved the import or sale of the products, and following the findings, have forbidden any subsequent import or sale of the products in the country.
The ministry advised individuals who have purchased or are using the products to stop immediately, and consult a medical practicioner if they are feeling unwell or are experiencing any adverse effects.
The ministry also advised the public that retailers of these products, including online retailers through social media, that is is an offence under the Poisons Act to sell products containing controlled substances under the Act, and the penalty for such an offence upon conviction is a fine of BND8,000 or six months’ imprisonment.
If a person commits an act that amounts to such a degree of negligence so as to endanger or be likely to endanger human life, then such person shall be guilty of an offence which carries a penalty of a fine of BND16,000 and 12 months’ imprisonment.
The public are also reminded that it is an offence under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations, 2007 to import and market cosmetic products in the local market without a Cosmetic Product Notification Acknowledgement letter issued by the authority.
The penalty for contravening these regulations upon conviction, is a fine not exceeding BND5,000, imprisonment not exceeding two years or both.
The ministry would also like to call upon the public to report any of these product still found on the market to the Compliance and Licensing Section at 2393301 ext 208; or e-mail to email@example.com