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Japanese Cosmetics Cause Concern in China
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If excessive traces of heavy metals are again detected in SK-II imported cosmetics in the future China will stop importing them, a state quality watchdog official said.  


Neodymium and chromium - substances banned from use in skin products as they can cause allergic dermatitis and eczema - were detected last week in the Japanese cosmetic brand SK-II.


"If serious quality problems were found again China would ban imports of SK-II products," said the official with the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine. The official explained that "quality and quarantine departments will keep a close eye on products that concern consumers' health and safety." 


The administration urged the manufacturer to strictly follow China's quality standards to ensure their products were safe.  


SK-II, a famous Japanese cosmetic brand, which claims to have whitening and lifting effects on the skin is widely used by Chinese women. P&G China, the country's SK-II distributor, is recalling the suspect products. As of Monday nine types of cosmetics had been removed from 13 SK-II shops in Beijing.


However, the manufacturer requires that consumers sign a so-called "safe product" agreement in which they recognize the SK-II merchandize they purchased as being safe before being able to return it.


"Otherwise the products cannot be withdrawn," said a telephone operator at SK-II in China. An employee at the company's Beijing branch said, "We believe only a small batch of products suffered the problem."


Qiu Baochang, a lawyer with the Beijing Lawyers' Association, said the agreement was inequitable and consumers could refuse to sign the waver.


(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2006)

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