HSA raises red flag over three products

The Health Science Authority said the products - Herba Saraf, Wonderglow Whitening Specialist Super Ultra Glowing Cream and Tati Skin Care 5 in 1 cosmetic set - had potent undeclared ingredients that could cause serious health problems.
The Health Science Authority said the products - Herba Saraf, Wonderglow Whitening Specialist Super Ultra Glowing Cream and Tati Skin Care 5 in 1 cosmetic set - had potent undeclared ingredients that could cause serious health problems.PHOTOS: HEALTH SCIENCES AUTHORITY

Two cosmetic items and a pain reliever contain undeclared ingredients that pose health risk

A red flag has been planted on two cosmetic products and a pain reliever for having undeclared ingredients that can be a danger to health.

The risky items that have been identified by regulator Health Sciences Authority (HSA) are: Wonderglow Whitening Specialist Super Ultra Glowing Cream, Tati Skin Care 5 in 1 cosmetic set, and Herba Saraf pain reliever.

The HSA issued the alert yesterday, adding that Herba Saraf had led to poor blood sugar control in a woman who took it, raising her risk of becoming a diabetic and getting heart disease.

The woman, whom the HSA did not identify, is in her 40s and got the Herba Saraf from a relative in Malaysia who had bought it online.

The HSA said it was being marketed as containing herbal ingredients for the relief of pain such as migraine and joint pain.

After taking it for more than a month for her knee pain, she was diagnosed with impaired glucose tolerance. She stopped taking it.

The HSA later found that Herba Saraf contains dexamethasone, a potent steroid.

 

Dexamethasone is a prescription-only medication, taken under medical supervision as it can result in a string of health problems, such as a rare hormonal disorder called Cushing's syndrome, increased blood glucose levels leading to diabetes, high blood pressure, cataracts, muscular and bone disorders, as well as a higher risk of infections.

People who take Herba Saraf are advised by the HSA to see a doctor as soon as possible as the sudden discontinuation of steroids without medical supervision can cause serious withdrawal symptoms such as fatigue, confusion and low blood pressure.

The two cosmetic products contain excessively high levels of mercury.They were brought into Singapore from Malaysia by a woman in her 20s who intended to sell them online, the HSA said. She was detained at the Causeway and the products were seized.

The HSA said it had already flagged the Tati cosmetic set twice, in June and September last year.

Recent tests it did found that one of the set's items, Therapy Cream 1, had mercury exceeding permissible limits by close to 50,000 times. The set's Therapy Cream 2 had hydroquinone and tretinoin, both of which are potent ingredients to be used only under medical supervision.

As for Wonderglow, which comprises a day and night cream as well as a soap bar, HSA said that it was marketed online as an anti-wrinkle and anti-ageing product that claims to brighten the skin in "as early as three days".

It was also falsely labelled as "100% No Mercury Guaranteed", when the night cream has very high levels of mercury, exceeding the permissible limits by 7,000 times.

The HSA warned people to be wary of health products that promise quick and miraculous results or carry exaggerated claims like "100% safe and effective".

These may have potent and prohibited ingredients that can be harmful, or are prescription medicines that should be taken under medical supervision, it added.

People found guilty of supplying or selling illegal health products face a fine of up to $100,000, a maximum jail term of three years, or both punishments.

Anyone with information on the sale and supply of these illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch on 6866-3485 during office hours from Monday to Friday, or send an e-mail to hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2018, with the headline 'HSA raises red flag over three products'. Print Edition | Subscribe