Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of dangerous counterfeit cosmetics have been uncovered across the country by trading standards officers, local government leaders have warned.
In Devon, Somerset and Torbay, for example, trading standards services have seized products containing chemicals such as highly toxic mercury and illegal levels of the skin whitening agent hydroquinone.
In Cheshire, a tanning salon owner has also been prosecuted for selling more than £100,000 of fake designer goods, which included make up brands and perfume.
Around 275 fake make up products, which had a street value of £2,258, have also recently been seized from a property in Grimsby.
Cllr Simon Blackburn, chair of the Local Government Association’s (LGA) Safer and Stronger Communities Board, warns that fake cosmetics are ‘dangerous’ as they can ‘contain toxic chemicals and dangerously high levels of lead which can be detrimental for people’s health.’
‘Fake designer products costs businesses and the taxpayer thousands of pounds each year,’ he continued.
‘Councils have been targeting rogue retailers selling these fake products, and the fines they have received should deter others from selling these dangerous products.
‘People should always do their research and take a pragmatic approach when they are buying make-up and cosmetics. Check the reviews of online sellers, and bear in mind that if something is really cheap, it’s likely to be fake and could potentially be harmful.
‘Anyone who has purchased make up that they think is dangerous should stop using it immediately and report it to their local trading standards team.
‘It is vital that people report any concerns, so that councils can take action to prevent anyone being harmed or scarred for life.’