Illegal & Cheap Cosmetics With Harmful Ingredients From Thailand Are Flooding Kelantan

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Cosmetic products seized recently by General Operations Force along the Kelantan-Thai border recently (source: NST)

According to NST, Kelantan has turned into a dumping ground for unregistered and non-notified beauty products from Thailand, which may contain harmful ingredients like mercury, hydroquinone, tretinoin and more.

These ingredients can cause discolouration of the skin, increase the risk of skin cancer, kidney failure and damage to the nervous system among other conditions.

The strong demand for cheap cosmetic products makes them available at markets and malls in every town and village in the state, their growing popularity is a worry for state health authorities.

The state Health Department said most of the products, especially those smuggled into the country, contained high levels of scheduled poisons and could be harmful to health.

Usually, the products are either marketed as “made in Thailand” brands or repackaged by local cosmetic entrepreneurs under their own brands after buying them in bulk across the border.

Kelantan health director (Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin source: NST)

Kelantan Health director Datuk Dr Zaini Hussin said yesterday (21 March) that the department was taking the matter seriously. This was in regard to the distribution, packaging and sale of unregistered and untested health products, as well as counterfeit and adulterated products in the state.

“There are a lot of non-notified products being dumped in the country and it’s being brought in by the kilogrammes and re-packed as local cosmetic products in Kelantan markets. The department, via the state pharmacy enforcement division, is trying to curb the sale of these unregistered and non-notified products,” he said.

Zaini also mentioned that in 2020, the number of products seized by the division had increased, with 148 types of cosmetic products worth about RM360,000 taken off the market.

“Fifty-three of the 148 products were from Thailand and three of them contained scheduled poisons. What is worrying is that the scheduled poisons contain mercury, hydroquinone and tretinoin, which are harmful to people’s health,” he said.

Left – A Malaysian’s skin after using harmful products. Right – Her skin after treatment (source: Hijabista)

There were also cases of cosmetic sellers in the state trying to cheat customers by using fake notification numbers.

Zaini warned these sellers that selling or possessing these un-notified cosmetic products is an offence under the Control of Drugs and Cosmetic Regulations 1984, and is punishable under the Sale of Drugs Act 1952.

Those found guilty may be fined a maximum of RM25,000 and sentenced to three years’ jail for the first offence, and a maximum fine of RM50,000 and five years’ jail for subsequent offences. Companies convicted would be ordered to pay a maximum fine of RM50,000 for the first offence and RM100,000 for the following offences.

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