The Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) today (November 5) urged members of the public not to use two types of cosmetic cream which were found to have a mercury content exceeding the permissible limit.
Customs officers have recently taken from the market samples of a cosmetic set, namely "Yunxi New skin whitening 4 in 1 Suit" for safety tests by the Government Laboratory. The "New skin whitening Night Cream" and "New skin whitening Pearl Cream" contained in the cosmetic set were found to have a mercury content of 16 000 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) and 9 200mg/kg respectively.
The tolerable mercury content limit stipulated in the "Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics" of the China National Health Inspection (2007 Edition) of the People's Republic of China is 1mg/kg.
The C&ED today conducted investigations at a retail shop in North Point where a sample of the cosmetic set was taken earlier. In the meantime, territory-wide surveillance checks were also conducted. However, none of the alleged goods were found. C&ED will continue with the surveillance checks and monitoring action.
Chronic exposure to mercury can cause damage to the nervous system and kidneys. Symptoms may include tremors, irritability, insomnia, deterioration of memory, difficulty in concentration, impaired hearing and vision, and change in tasting ability. In severe cases, renal failure may occur.
A C&ED spokesman said, "To ensure that consumer goods in the market comply with general safety requirements under the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance, the department conducts spot checks on retailers and draws samples for safety tests. The department also regularly organises seminars for the trade to promote their awareness of consumer goods safety and assist them in observing relevant requirements of the ordinance."
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, 14/F, Customs Headquarters Building, 222 Java Road, North Point, Hong Kong.
Ends/Thursday, November 5, 2015
Issued at HKT 18:05