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Ministry of Health recalls toxic lipsticks for kids

15 December 2010

Media Release

Ministry of Health recalls toxic lipsticks for kids

The Ministry of Health has requested the voluntary recall of four brands of lipstick for children, which have been found to contain low levels of lead and barium.

Public Health Units throughout the country have been asked to request retailers to voluntarily withdraw K.K. Lipstick, Coral Colours Cosmetics, Ludy and Midie Lipstick from sale, effective immediately.

Although these products were found being sold in at least two discount stores and a community pharmacy, there is no information yet on how widely these lipsticks are distributed.

“This action is a precautionary measure,” Ministry of Health spokesperson Dr John Holmes said.

“These lipsticks contain low levels of toxic substances which should not be used in cosmetics at all. People who have purchased these products should immediately dispose of them or return them to the retailer.”

Although exposure to these metals at these low levels is unlikely to cause adverse health effects for most people, Dr Holmes acknowledged that “people may react differently to products they use.”

“Parents who have concerns should contact their general practitioner,” he advised.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs recently screened and tested children’s toys, jewellery, paints and cosmetics for metals. Subsequent tests found that the four brands of lipstick for children contained small amounts of lead and barium, and barely detectable levels of antimony, arsenic, cadmium and chromium. The Cosmetic Products Group Standard of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms (HSNO) Act prohibits the use of these metals in cosmetics.

Dr Holmes said he was pleased the Ministry of Consumer Affairs had expanded its testing of toys to include cosmetics targeted at children.

Regulation of hazardous substances, under the HSNO Act, is primarily the responsibility of ERMA New Zealand. The Ministry of Health is one of several agencies assigned enforcement roles under the HSNO Act, and it becomes involved if the public is exposed or has the potential to be exposed to risk.

ENDS

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