China's quality watchdog has urged local branches to increase the supervision of cosmetics and food products imported from Japan after a series of quality problems.
According to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, quality authorities in south China's Guangdong Province found chromium and neodymium, which are prohibited for use in cosmetics in China, in SK-II products made by Procter and Gamble (Japan).
The Guangdong Entry-Exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau found 4.5 mg/kg of neodymium in one SK-II product. It also found traces of between 0.77 mg/kg and 2.0 mg/kg of chromium in other SK-II items.
According to China's Regulations on Hygienic Standards for Cosmetics (GB1976), cosmetics should not contain chromium or neodymium.
Experts said chromium can cause skin diseases such as allergic dermatitis and eczema, which are very hard to cure. Neodymium can cause eye irritations and mucosa. If inhaled, the substance can damage the lungs and liver.
Europe has also banned these two elements as cosmetics ingredients, according to the administration.
In another development, the administration issued warnings against food products imported from Japan after several items were found to contain excessive amounts of chemicals.
The administration said they have found quality problems in more than 30 batches of food products imported from Japan since June.
Authorities in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, found excessive sorbic acid in fish sticks, reaching the level of 1.3g /kg, 17.3 times the nation's safety limit.
Similar findings were made in salted carrots from Kyushu.
(China Daily September 15, 2006)