SINGAPORE - Japanese budget retailer Daiso has taken three hair dye products off the shelves in Singapore as a precautionary measure, amid media reports in Japan that they contain excessive levels of formaldehyde.
However, a Health Sciences Authority (HSA) spokesman told The Straits Times on Tuesday (April 17) that the concentration of formaldehyde in the affected products sold here - EverBilena Hair Touch A Black, B Dark Brown and C Brown - is within the permissible limit.
These products come in the form of pens that allow dye to be applied onto strands of hair to change their colour instantly.
Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that these were produced by Kyoto-based cosmetics firm Sunpalko at its factory in Taiwan.
Sunpalko said in a statement on its website that it voluntarily recalled the product in Japan last Friday, after it found that the amount of formaldehyde did not meet national cosmetics standards.
"In Singapore, formaldehyde may be used as a preservative in cosmetic products to prevent the growth of micro-organisms in the product, in concentrations not exceeding 0.2 per cent," a HSA spokesman said.
"This limit, established under the Asean Cosmetic Directive, is in line with the limit found in the European Union regulations for cosmetic products."
Nevertheless, local importer Daiso Industries initiated the recall as a precautionary measure, which HSA said it is currently overseeing to ensure that the affected products are removed from the market.
In the statement, the spokesman said that formaldehyde may cause skin irritations in some individuals. Hence, those who use hair dyes are advised to read the labels and avoid products that they may be sensitive or allergic to.
While studies on animals and human occupational exposure through inhalation of formaldehyde currently suggest that the chemical may cause cancer, the spokesman added that its carcinogenic effect when applied topically has not been established.
To date, HSA has not received any reports of adverse effects by users of these products.
The authority said it will continue to monitor the situation and take all appropriate actions to protect public health and safety.
Consumers who have inquiries relating to the affected products can contact Daiso Industries on 6566 9585.