SINGAPORE - Authorities have issued a warning against using a whitening cream, which contains more than 3,000 times the allowed amount of mercury.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) alerted members of the public on Monday (May 22) not to buy or use Royal Expert Whitening Cream.
The product, sold online, touts skin whitening and anti-wrinkle effects.
Those who have bought the product should stop using it immediately and throw it away, HSA said.
Mercury is a toxic substance and regular application of creams containing mercury could lead to rash, skin discolouration and blotching.
Chronic exposure to high levels of mercury in cosmetic products may also affect the kidneys and nervous system as it can be absorbed through the skin.
HSA was alerted by the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case), which found mercury content of 3,604 µg/g in the cream in a test of several cosmetics.
While the use of mercury as an ingredient in cosmetic products is prohibited, trace levels of mercury of less than 1µg/g is allowed as mercury is an environment contaminant, Case said.
The excessively high levels of mercury in Royal Expert is "a cause for concern", it said.
HSA further tested several samples of the product obtained from various online platforms and all the samples tested positive with high mercury levels.
Sellers must stop selling Royal Expert Whitening Cream immediately, HSA said.
Anyone convicted of supplying illegal health products may be jailed up to three years and/or fined up to $100,000.
Members of the public are advised to:
- Stop using the product and see a doctor if they are experiencing adverse effects following its use;
- Exercise discretion in their purchase of cosmetic products, including those purchased from online sources. They should purchase these from reliable and reputable sources. Unlike other commodities, the use of poor quality and falsely labelled health products including cosmetics can cause serious health effects;
- Visit www.healthdangers.sg to learn more about the dangers of buying illegal health products from questionable sources.
Members of the public who have any information on the sale and supply of Royal Expert Whitening Cream or other illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch on 6866-3485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
In response to HSA's advisory, Ortus Expert White Sdn Bhd, the distributor of Royal Expert Whitening Cream has said that the products bought from e-commerce platforms may be counterfeit as they are not from authorised resellers. It has sought further clarification from HSA, it said.