HSE find toxic substances in counterfeit cosmetics

Banned toxic substances, such as arsenic and lead, have been found in counterfeit ‘high-end’ cosmetics that are being targeted at teenagers who may not be able to afford the genuine product.

Some of the counterfeit products the HPRA has seized as the HSE advises consumers to be vigilant over such fake 'high-end' beauty products

The Health Products Regulatory Authority and HSE are warning consumers to be vigilant when buying cosmetics this Christmas.

Tests carried out by the HSE on some of the 728 counterfeit and imitation products seized by the HPRA identified harmful substances, including arsenic and lead.

Forged cosmetic brands included Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner and Urban Decay. Kylie Jenner cosmetics are the new ‘must have’ brand but can only be bought from the official website in the US.

However, many people are choosing to purchase counterfeit and imitation versions from discount websites outside of Europe, in countries such as China.

The HPRA’s cosmetics compliance manager, Aoife Farrell, said the authority was “extremely concerned” that the products are available to Irish consumers.

Ms Farrell said arsenic and lead could damage a person’s brain and kidneys as well as other organs.

“The suppliers of these products are unconcerned about the health of the consumers who purchase them,” she said.

Ms Farrell said they could not emphasise enough the need for consumers to be vigilant when purchasing cosmetics this Christmas.

“While they may be sold at a cheaper cost than legitimate beauty products, it is never worth gambling with your health when buying these products.”

The counterfeit products detained by the HPRA include Kylie Holiday-Burgundy and Bronze eyeshadow palettes, Kylie matte liquid lipstick and lip liner, and Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes.

Tests carried out by the HSE found the Kylie Jenner giftbox makeup set had the highest level of the prohibited heavy metals.

High levels of the harmful substances were also found in counterfeit Kylie Bronze eyeshadow palette and Urban Decay eyeshadow palette.

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