South Korean beauty label Etude House has recalled one of its cosmetic products sold here, Etude House AC Clean-Up Mild Concealer, after metal traces above the permissible level were found in it.
Etude House Korea announced the suspension of the concealer and another item, Etude House Drawing Eyebrow Duo No. 3 Gray Brown, which is not sold in Singapore, on the brand's website on Wednesday.
In the same media statement, Etude House Singapore said that the suspension and recall decisions came about "upon finding traces of excessive antimony" in the products and "voluntarily reporting" it to the South Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.
In response to queries from The Straits Times, the Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said yesterday that cosmetic products sold in Singapore are not allowed to contain antimony. Only four units from the affected batch have been sold locally, the spokesman added.
Etude House is a brand under South Korean beauty and cosmetics conglomerate Amorepacific. The affected products were manufactured and supplied by Hwasung Cosmetics, one of Amorepacific's subcontractors.
The items concerned, said Etude House Singapore in its statement, were mainly distributed in South Korea, with "only a small portion" of Etude House AC Clean-Up Mild Concealer under the affected lot number AAH distributed here.
The company added that customers who have bought the recalled products can return them for a full refund or exchange at any Etude House store in Singapore.
"Ensuring the safety and quality of all products is of utmost importance. We will continue to make every effort to ensure that we take appropriate actions during the recall process," said the company.
The spokesman for HSA said it is overseeing the voluntary product recall to ensure that the stock from the affected batch is removed from the Singapore market.
Antimony is an element present naturally in the environment and does not accumulate in the body.
There will be toxic effects from the element only after "large doses" are consumed, he added. "As these products are applied on the skin, in general, there should be no significant adverse effects," he said.
HSA has not received any reports of adverse reactions from the use of the product.
According to The Korea Herald, Amorepacific apologised on Tuesday after several of its products were found to contain metal traces exceeding the permissible level of 10 micrograms per gram.
The daily English-language newspaper reported Amorepacific as saying: "We apologise for the incident; we should have put all our focus on quality assurance. We will do our best to prevent similar cases from happening."
Etude House currently has 17 stores here in malls such as 313@Somerset, Causeway Point and Bugis Junction. The label is known for its affordable products and tie-ups with well-known South Korean singers and actors such as actress Park Shin Hye and K-pop group SHINee.