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Be aware of illegal and counterfeit products

Fake make-up

Following on from the disturbing news during early February, that Trading Standards Officers in the West Midlands had seized a large quantity of fake make-up containing illegal amounts of heavy metals, we wanted to urge everyone to take care to buy only from reputable sources.

The problem with counterfeit products is that the packaging and look of the product can be almost impossible to tell from the real thing. Unfortunately, the product inside is nothing like the genuine product. Not only is it not likely to work as well as it should, it may actually be unsafe and cause you harm.

Illegal tooth whiteners

It has also been reported this week that there has been a large seizure of tooth-whitening kits which were being sold illegally via internet sites for personal use. These kits were found to contain far in excess of the legally allowed levels of the ingredients used to help lighten teeth.

Tooth whitening products are legally classed as cosmetic products in Europe. This means they are covered by strict safety laws to ensure they are safe. A commonly used tooth whitening ingredient is hydrogen peroxide, and the maximum level of this ingredient permitted in these cosmetic products is set to ensure consumer safety. Cosmetic products containing much higher levels than the maximum permitted for retail sale would be illegal, and may be a potential risk to consumer health.

Dental practitioners can advise you about tooth whitening and what products or process would be right for you. Dentists do have access to tooth whitening products that contain higher levels of the active ingredient but it is important and indeed a legal requirement, that they be made available only through dentists.

Be Aware

It is an unfortunate fact that counterfeiters target nearly every type of consumer product as well as important sectors such as medical, automotive and foods.

Always make sure you buy your products from reputable outlets. Be suspicious of any products offered for sale from unusual places such as car boot sales, markets or less well-known internet sites. Always be wary of offers that seem "too good to be true". Remember, using counterfeit products could cause actual harm. The authorities say that proceeds from such crime also fund other serious organised crimes such as drugs, arms and people trafficking, ID theft, money laundering and child pornography amongst others.

The cosmetics industry takes your safety seriously. CTPA is concerned that such counterfeit and illegal products could jeopardise your safety and also threaten the trust that millions of consumer have in the many, many legal and safe products available and used today.

For more information on what to do if you suspect a counterfeit product, visit our dedicated section on counterfeiting.

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