Korean authorities say P&G cosmetics safe

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Sk-ii skin care South korea Heavy metal music Japan P&g

Following a pan-Asian scare regarding heavy metal content in
Procter & Gamble's SK-II skin care line, South Korean
authorities have said that it has found only traces of the
suspected substances and says 'it is too little to worry about.'

The Korea Food and Drug Administration has said that seven out of eight products from SK-II products were found to contain chromium at levels between 0.2 ppm and 3.2 ppm while 0.22 to 1.18 ppm worth of neodymium were found in two products.

With ppm representing the number of particles per million, the authority says that levels of the potentially dangerous heavy metals are too minute for them to have any consequence to human health.

The KFDA said that it reviewed production records from the plant of manufacture in Japan and said that it had no proof that the company used the two substances in the formulation knowlingly.

"We're most relieved that the safety of the products was recognized,"​ P&G Korea President Choi Byung-wook said in a news release.

P&G says that the findings confirm its claims that the SK-II line is safe, ever since news broke two weeks ago that a China watchdog had detected small amounts of the heavy metals in samples it tested in Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Subsequent testing has been carried out both by watchdog authorities in Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea and by P&G in all the markets where the product line is sold in Asia.

P&G says that it has failed to find dangerous levels of the heavy metals in any of the samples it has tested, a claim it says that has been backed by the authorities in Taiwan, Singapore and now South Korea.

The news follows Chinese news reports that have dominated headlines over the past couple of weeks. Those news reports pointed to findings by China watchdogs that the potentially dangerous heavy metals had been detected in samples it had tested.

The news led P&G to cease all sales of the SK-II skin care line in China.

The line, which features premium sunscreens, skin whitening and general skin care products, has been available for twenty years and is sold in 14 countries worldwide, including the US, China, Singapore, South Korea and Australia.

P&G began to offer refunds for the product line in China this week, but the grounds for those refunds, which insisted on a receipt and the fact that at least one third of the product remained unused, infuriated many consumers, in turn leading to demonstrations in Shanghai.

The pursuing bad press led to a PR headache for P&G, as the ensuing scare began to dominate headlines throughout the region.

The news that the products are now deemed to be safe will be a relief to the company, but will also be a lesson in how not to handle a potentially volatile situation in the region.

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