The group based in New Delhi recently published a report that stated it had found high levels of mercury in whitening creams and large traces of metals such as chromium and nickel in lipsticks.
Seventy-three products from 14 cosmetic brands including Procter & Gamble, L’Oreal and Hindustan Unilever were tested at CSE's monitoring lab, of which P&G’s 'Olay Natural White' and Unilever's 'Pond’s White Beauty' were found to have contained high traces of mercury.
Levels were reported to be of of 1.79 ppm (parts per million) in the Olay cream and 1.36 ppm in Ponds White Beauty.
Following the release of the report, Unilever reps hit back stating that the brand does not add mercury to its products and that all are approved by the FDA as 'safe' and comply fully with guidelines in India on all aspects, including contaminants and heavy metals.
"Like all Unilever cosmetic products, all Pond’s products (including Ponds White Beauty) are safe — with no added mercury and are manufactured in accordance with good manufacturing practices in line with the Bureau of Indian Standards and the US FDA limits on trace metals."
Speaking out in unison..
Then, it was the parent company of L'Oreal, Lancôme's turn to speak out after its' L'Absolu Nu-204 lipstick was found to have contained the highest amount of chromium and nickel content, which it denies.
According to the spokesperson; “Lancôme’s highest priority is the safety of its consumers. We do not use heavy metals as ingredients in our products and comply fully with Indian and international cosmetic regulations.”
Estee Lauder’s 'MAC So Chaud-A82' was also found to have contained high in chromium and nickel content.
The CSE said the study also found chromium in 50% and nickel in 43% of the lipstick samples it tested, but did not come across any lead or cadmium levels.
"Mercury is not supposed to be present in cosmetic products. Their mere presence in these products is completely illegal and unlawful," CSE director general Sunita Narain had said at the time.