Warning issued after arsenic and lead found in counterfeit make-up products

The majority of counterfeit items seized have been eye-shadows and lip products

Business & Tech

HPRA seized cosmetic products | Image: HPRA

12:39 6 Dec 2017 Jack Quann 12:39 Wednesday 6 December 2017

A health warning has been issued for customers over the use of counterfeit cosmetics.

The Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA) and the Health Service Executive (HSE) are asking consumers to be vigilant for counterfeit 'high-end' beauty products on sale through certain outlets, markets and websites in the lead up to Christmas.

Tests have been carried out by the HSE on a number of 728 counterfeit and imitation products seized by the HPRA.

It found that some contain substances, such as arsenic and lead, which can be potentially harmful to people's health.

Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner and Urban Decay were among some of the forged brands which were found to contain these illegal substances.

The counterfeit products detained include: Kylie Holiday-Burgundy and Bronze eyeshadow palettes, Kylie Matte liquid lipstick and lip liner, and Urban Decay eyeshadow palettes.

HPRA seized cosmetic products | Image: HPRA

The HPRA is warning that the Christmas season is the peak time of year for "rogue sellers of counterfeit products", and shoppers are strongly urged to avoid these potentially harmful products.

The HPRA says that over the past few months, significant quantities of counterfeit and imitation cosmetics have been seized by Revenue’s Customs Service.

It says: "The majority of counterfeit cosmetic products seized have been eye-shadows and lip products.

"Some of these products can be purchased online from websites based outside of the EU and are being sold to Irish consumers online and through social media.

"They have also been found in some trade shows and at markets throughout the country."

HPRA seized cosmetic products | Image: HPRA


Aoife Farrell is cosmetics compliance manager with the HPRA.

"The HPRA is extremely concerned that highly toxic substances, such as arsenic and lead, have been detected in products which are available to Irish consumers.

"Prolonged exposure to both of these banned substances can severely damage your health causing potential harm to your brain and kidneys, among other organs.

"The suppliers of these products are unconcerned about the health of the consumers who purchase them.

HPRA seized cosmetic products | Image: HPRA

"We can’t emphasise enough the need for consumers to be vigilant when purchasing cosmetics this Christmas - while they may be sold at a cheaper cost than legitimate beauty products, it is never worth gambling with your health when buying these products.

"As well as the possible toxic ingredients which may be contained in counterfeit cosmetics, the way the products are manufactured and the safety and cleanliness of the production environment is unknown, which is another reason to avoid purchasing and using these cosmetics at all cost."

The HPRA also says that the genuine Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner are currently only available from the company's website in the USA, and other genuine high-end cosmetic products are usually only available through high street stores or pharmacies.

The HPRA and the HSE advise "extreme caution" if consumers are offered such products at markets or through non-reputable websites.

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