General, HP, Trading Standards

Cosmetics linked to cancer seized in major trading standards haul

Surrey County Council trading standards officer Claire Hodgson with the illegal cosmetics haul. Click on picture to download.

Potentially life-threatening cosmetics have been seized by Surrey County Council as part of one of the UK’s largest-ever hauls of its kind.

The 752-kilo cargo taken by trading standards officers at Heathrow Airport includes more than 1,000 cosmetic items, from creams to lotions, containing a skin bleaching ingredient – hydroquinone – that is banned in the EU because it increases users’  risk of getting cancer and liver conditions.

The rest of the 3,000-item seizure, which came from the Ivory Coast, was also impounded because the products contained prescription medicines or were wrongly labelled.

Helyn Clack, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “Seizing these cosmetics means our trading standards officers are keeping people safe from a potentially life-threatening ingredient linked to cancer.”

The 752-kilo haul is due to be destroyed within the next month. Surrey County Council trading standards officers have been inspecting goods arriving at Heathrow since 2009 under a regional scheme that ensures banned goods are seized at customs before they reach hundreds of retailers nationwide. The council also recently seized a similar 600-kilo batch at Heathrow.

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