Do you eat imported American spinach, use SK-II cosmetics and receive ear candling therapy? If the answer is yes, you need to be careful as those products and service offered in Hong Kong are found hazardous to people's health.
According to local newspapers, spinach produced in the United States contains colon bacillus, which has caused 50 cases of infection in the country. It so far caused one death and 8 cases of kidney failure.
Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department asked the US consulate in Hong Kong to inform about polluted spinach and to stop exporting spinach to Hong Kong. Meanwhile, the department warned the public to wash vegetables carefully before cooking.
Hong Kong Economic Times reported, however, Hong Kong's Food and Environmental Hygiene Department had not received any report of infection caused by imported spinach so far.
The newspaper said major supermarkets, such as Citysuper, Sogo and Welcome, stopped selling US imported spinach Friday when they heard of the news about polluted spinach.
Meanwhile, health concern become intensified as excessive heavy metals are found in products of SK-II, a famous and popular Japanese cosmetic brand, which claimed to have whitening and lifting effects on skin.
City University of Hong Kong announced Friday that their test results showed 4 products of SK-II contain heavy metals Nd and Cr, which are forbidden to use in cosmetics selling in Hong Kong. Hong Kong Customs has taken some SK-II samples from local market and said they will announce its test result in a week.
The largest chain store of cosmetics Sa Sa announced to call back all SK-II sold by Sa Sa. Mannings, an chain pharmacy, said customers can turn back SK-II within 14 days.
At the same day, Hong Kong Consumer Council warned the public that there's no scientific support to the benefits of ear candling therapy. It said the popular therapy offered in beauty salon may cause ear diseases, even hearing loss.
Ear candling is a therapy, which is used in beauty salon to clear earwax and reduce tension by lighting a hollow candle inserting in patient's ear. However, the council said a report from the United States showed the therapy may cause skin burns, candle wax blocking, even hearing loss.
The council therefore warned the public ear candling therapy may become hazardous because the lighting candle is very close to ear and face. The council has received 31 reports complaining ear candling therapy last year.
(Xinhua News Agency September 17, 2006)