Shiseido sunscreen pulled from Hong Kong shelves over heavy metal query


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Shiseido sunscreen pulled from Hong Kong shelves over heavy metal query

Related tags European union Mainland china

Japanese cosmetic giant Shiseido saw its sunscreen cream temporarily removed from shelves in Hong Kong after mainland reports suggested it contained a toxic metal.

Cadmium was found in a batch of the company’s Anessa sunscreen exported to the mainland which led to a 24-hour sales hiatus of the line.

According to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the batch has since been destroyed and in response Shiseido insisted it did not use cadmium in any of its products.

Minimal claims

In its statement, the Tokyo-headquartered frim stressed the heavy metal found in its sunscreen was "extremely minimal" and would not pose any threat to users, adding that it could have been found in the environment in the mainland.

The company reiterated that all of its products have passed the safety standards of the European Union, the United States and Japan.

Despite this, Shiseido still pulled the sunscreen off the shelves in Hong Kong as advised, but plans to resume sales after seeking clarification from the mainland.

Awaiting results

Hong Kong's Customs and Excise Department is awaiting its own test results of samples taken from local shops.

If the products are found to be unsafe, the Customs and Excise Department will ban the sales of Anessa and take other enforcement action.

The hygienic standard for cosmetics in China prohibits the use of mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium in cosmetic ingredients.


Speaking to the South China Morning Post, dermatologist Dr Louis Shih Tai-cho said cadmium did not have any function in sunscreen and found no reason to add the heavy metal into the product.

"Titanium and zinc oxide are the compounds used for sunscreen, but not cadmium. If cadmium was really found in the products, it looks likely the raw material had been contaminated,"​ Shih said.

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