Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration says the products have been largely manufactured in hired factories in Ayutthaya’s Wang Noi district and distributed by unlicensed agents in Bangkok’s Don Muang quarter.
Regional publication, The Nation reports that the products could contain hazardous ingredients including mercury, hydroquinone and retinoic acid.
“These products often exaggerate their benefits. To boost their image, they carry a label in a foreign language, making it look like they are imported,” says Dr Sumalee Pornkitprasarn, FDA director of the Bureau of Cosmetic and Hazardous Substances Control.
As a result, consumers in Thailand have been advised to check the licence number that appears on cosmetic products against the FDA’s online database.
Asia's authorities crack down on counterfeiting
Hong Kong's Department of Health has also recently appealed to members of the public not to buy or use a cosmetic cream product as it may contain excessive mercury.
The appeal followed the Department's receipt of notification of a case of mercury poisoning from the Hospital Authority (HA) involving a female patient who was admitted to Tseung Kwan O Hospital on May 29 for swelling of lower limbs.
The product sample has been tested by the DH and the laboratory results today revealed that the level of mercury was 6,411 times the acceptable level.
"As the content of mercury in the above product is as high as 6,411 times the acceptable level, using the product may cause serious side-effects. People who have used it should stop immediately and consult healthcare professionals as soon as possible if they feel unwell or are in doubt. Members of the public are urged not to buy or use cosmetic products of unknown composition or from doubtful sources," a spokesman for the Department explained.