PETALING JAYA: The health authorities have banned cosmetic products that have been found to contain scheduled poisons.
The Health Ministry's National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) has warned against the use of the products as they contain mercury, hydroquinone, tretinoin and/or betamethasone 17-valerate.
Health director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said hydroquinone, tretinoin and betamethasone valerate were controlled drugs.
"The use of mercury in cosmetic product is strictly forbidden, because it can harm the kidney and the nervous system," he said, stressing that mercury could also adversely affect brain development of foetus and young children.
Sifu Kunyit Night Cream contains mercury and betamethasone 17-valerate, while Sifu Kunyit Day Cream was found to contain hydroquinone, tretinoin and betamethasone 17-Valerate.
Meanwhile, JJ Skincare Glowhite Night Cream contains hydroquinone.
Dr Hisham called upon retailers and wholesalers to immediately stop sales and distribution of the three banned cosmetic products.
He said first-time offenders who breached the Drugs and Cosmetics Control Regulations 1984 were liable to a maximum three-year jail term and RM25,000 fine.
The penalty would be increased to a maximum five years and RM50,000 fine for habitual offenders.
Companies would be liable to a maximum fine of RM50,000 for first offence, and up to RM100,000 fine for subsequent offence.
"Consumers should immediately stop using the products and seek professional healthcare assistance if they experience any uneasiness or adverse effects," he said.
Hydroquinone could increase risk of skin cancer and causes skin hypersensitivity and reddishness, apart from blocking the much-needed pigmentation to protect the skin against dangerous ultraviolet rays.
Tretinoin could also make the skin hypersensitive to sunlight.
Betamethasone valerate could cause skin irritation, thinner skin layer, and it could be absorbed into the bloodstream and adversely affect health.
People are advised to surf the NPRA website or download NPRA Product Status from Google Play Store to check on the status of cosmetic products.
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