China reacts to cosmetics safety scares

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags People's republic of china Cosmetics Hu jintao

The Chinese government has acted on promises to improve product
standards 'blacklisting' 10 domestically manufactured cosmetics,
according to press reports.

Following numerous safety scares, including seizures of dangerous counterfeit Colgate toothpaste around the world, President Hu Jintao of China vowed to tackle the problem of substandard products.

Cracking down on the manufacture of unsafe cosmetics, Ministry of Health officials 'blacklisted' skin care products produced by Guangzhou Shimei Cosmetics and Gelamei Cosmetic.

Officials did not reveal what the blacklist designation entailed but said the products contained chemicals that made the skin age and become discoloured.

Sebastian Marx, a spokesperson for the European, Cosmetics and Toiletries Associations (COLIPA) told "In principle we welcome any step that reduces the amount of substandard cosmetics coming onto the market.

"Exactly what action the Chinese government is taking and how effective it is remains to be seen but it is good to see the authorities are reacting to the problem."

He said the issue of unsafe and counterfeit cosmetics and consumer products from China is significant in Europe.

The recent growth of Chinese exports was largely responsible for the 128 per cent increase in seizures of counterfeit personal care products at EU borders reported by the EC in 2006.

Pressure from EC officials and the US government has prompted promises of 'serious investigations' into issues related to product safety from China.

As well as governmental pressure, China is also facing the possibility of economic repercussions from concerns about product safety.

A recent survey of US consumers found that as many as 55 per cent of respondents said they were not confident in personal care products manufactured in developing countries like China and India.

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