Unsafe cosmetics recalled over formaldehyde

Published: 
29 Oct 2010

Two cosmetic products have been recalled after being found to contain unsafe levels of formaldehyde.

Keratin Complex Smoothing Therapy, a hair straightening preparation, and Locks Lash Eyelash Extension Glue, a glue to attach false eyelashes, have been recalled by Dateline Imports and Beauty Secrecy Corp Pty Ltd.
 
"Formaldehyde is known to cause sensory irritation, skin sensitisation and can cause cancer in circumstances where there is chronic high exposure," Australian Competition and Consumer Commission deputy chair Peter Kell said.

"The products were used in beauty salons and should not have been sold directly to the public.

"It is totally unacceptable for consumers and salon staff to be exposed to unsafe levels of formaldehyde through the use, or application, of cosmetic products.

"Suppliers have a responsibility to ensure all products they supply meet accepted limits and are safe," Mr Kell said.

The Australian government has set safe limits for formaldehyde in cosmetics through the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP).

The recall of the unsafe products was negotiated by the ACCC following a survey of cosmetic products which was undertaken with the National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS).

The ACCC commissioned the testing of a range of cosmetic products after becoming aware of possible safety concerns though its clearinghouse process which identifies potential emerging hazards. ACCC and NICNAS staff purchased cosmetic products in Sydney and Canberra which included:

  • hair colourants/bleaches
  • hair straighteners/perms
  • hair fixatives
  • nail hardeners
  • eyelash glues
  • mouthwashes, and
  • moisturisers.

The analytic testing was performed by Leeder Consulting in Melbourne, which are accredited by the National Association for Testing Authorities for formaldehyde testing. 

The Australian government has set safe limits for formaldehyde in cosmetics through the Standard for the Uniform Scheduling of Medicines and Poisons (SUSMP). The details of the products which exceeded the limits set in the SUSMP were also notified to the agencies in all states and territories that are responsible for enforcement of the SUSMP.

"The ACCC has an active consumer product safety program that identifies emerging safety issues, undertakes further investigation and takes action where necessary," Mr Kell said.

Further details of the recalled products including photos can be found at www.recalls.gov.au.

Contact details

Media inquiries

Ms Lin Enright, Media, (02) 6243 1108 or 0414 613 520

Release # NR 238/10

General inquiries

Infocentre 1300 302 502

 

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Product category