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Cosmetics Reported Cause of Anaphylaxis

More than 800 imported and 1,200 China-made cosmetics were reported to have caused allergic reaction in users, reports by the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Beijing on Tuesday.

Sun screen lotions were reported to have caused the most allergic reactions followed by anti-freckle creams.

An official with the MOH said that in recent years, China has seen a surging domestic demand for cosmetics and a boom in cosmetic manufacturers both domestic and overseas.

Statistics show that the industrial value of cosmetics last year in China exceeded 180 billion yuan (around US$21.7 billion), with an annual growth rate of 15 percent. It is expected to surpass 300 billion yuan (around US$36 billion) in 2010.

The ministry's report on allergic reactions said they are mainly caused by inappropriate ingredients and poor manufacturing conditions. Some of cosmetic makers exaggerate the benefits of their products and mislead consumers to choose the wrong product and apply it inappropriately.

"This has been fundamentally caused by the big profits generated by the business," said He Weijun, a local cosmetic manufacturer. "The big profits meant a number of cosmetics manufacturers jumped into the business with very little investment and improper equipment.

"Most of the small cosmetics manufacturers employ people with little professional skill," he added.

In the report by the MOH, 52 cases of serious allergic reactions were reported in beauty saloons.

A survey by the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce said the number of beauty saloons in China exceeded 1.5 million in 2003 and they employ 16 million staff.

Fang Dongya, another local cosmetic manufacturer said the lack of trained professionals also led to frequent reports of allergic reactions from cosmetic treatments. China is in urgent need of personnel specialized in beauty industry management, Fang said.

In China, foreign cosmetic makers have taken up the most prominent spots in almost every shopping mall. Insiders predict that by the end of 2008, skin care products made by foreign companies or Sino-foreign joint ventures will account for 80 percent of the market valued at 80 billion yuan (around US$9.6 billion).

(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2006) 

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