No excessive toxins in nail products: Case

Nail care products in Singapore do not contain excessive amounts of toxins and are safe, a test by Singapore's consumer watchdog has found.
Nail care products in Singapore do not contain excessive amounts of toxins and are safe, a test by Singapore's consumer watchdog has found. PHOTO: ST FILE

Nail care products here do not contain excessive amounts of toxins and are safe, a test by Singapore's consumer watchdog has found.

Several brands, however, breach regulations by not listing the products' ingredients in English on their labels, said the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) in a statement yesterday.

Case commissioned tests on nail polish products sold here following similar tests by the Consumer Council in Hong Kong that found high levels of toxins in several products.

In March this year, Case officers bought 30 different brands of nail polish and polish remover from various retail outlets.

They checked the ingredients list for benzene, a carcinogen that can cause leukaemia in the long term, and toluene, a solvent that can cause severe neurological harm when inhaled excessively.

The samples were then sent for laboratory tests.

All the tested products did not contain benzene or more than 25 per cent of toluene, the maximum amount permitted in cosmetic products here.

However, 12 products - 10 nail polishes and two polish removers - lacked an ingredients list, breaching Health Sciences Authority (HSA) guidelines that require all cosmetic products to have clear and proper labelling.

"Case has informed HSA of these findings and they will be sending a letter of advice to these companies, to ensure proper labelling for their products placed in the market," said Case president Lim Biow Chuan. He added: "It is in the interest of consumers to be aware of the ingredients that go into the cosmetic products that they use, so that they can make informed purchases and use them correctly."

Companies supplying cosmetic products are responsible for the safety of the products, which may not necessarily be approved or certified by the HSA, said Mr Lim.

He advised consumers to stay updated on advisories and alerts regarding consumer products.

Skin Food, flagged by Case as one of the brands that did not list the ingredients on the product, said that, for small products, the list is placed near the product in the store and not on the packaging itself.

A spokesman said: "We will do our best to make the ingredients more visible in the future as it is our utmost priority to give assurance and confidence to our customers."

Civil servant Low Jia Xin, 25, who has more than 100 bottles of nail polish, said she is relieved that the products sold here are safe. She added: "I really care about what goes into the product so it's great that companies label the ingredients."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2015, with the headline 'No excessive toxins in nail products: Case'. Print Edition | Subscribe