Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) has banned 17 skin whitening creams containing harmful levels of mercury and hydroquinone.
Of them, 14 are Pakistani beauty products, 1 Chinese brand, 1 locally produced and another unknown.
The face creams contain excessive mercury and hydroquinone; at least 100 times higher than the permissible level and can cause numerous skin diseases if one applies them for a long time, warned the government institution in a notification issued today (13 July).
BSTI collected several samples of beauty creams from markets and tested them at their laboratory.
It found 17 of the products contained a higher level of harmful chemicals and subsequently banned their import, distribution, marketing and sales in Bangladesh.
Previously, BSTI set the standard at a maximum 1 ppm of mercury concentration, and less than 5 ppm of hydroquinone.
The 17 brands containing dangerous levels of mercury are — Goree Whitening Cream (102.92ppm), Chandni Whitening Cream (209.91ppm), New Face Whitening Cream (216.69ppm), Due Cream (133.50ppm), Golden Pearl Cream (124.28ppm), Faiza Cream (183.39ppm), Noor Herbal Beauty Cream (222.21ppm), Noor Herbal Gold Cream (143.60ppm), White Pearl plus Whitening Cream (201.99ppm), Pax Whitening Cream (219.13ppm), Fresh and White Whitening Cream (62.68ppm), Face lift Whitening Cream (190.50ppm), Face fresh Whitening Cream (201.40 ppm), Chinese Dr Rashel (Night) Cream (65.44ppm), 4k Plus Whitening Cream (40.60ppm), Aneeza Gold Whitening Cream (192.30ppm), and Gold Whitening Cream (88.70ppm).
Among these, two products have over 5 ppm of hydroquinone – Pakistani Aneeza Gold Whitening Cream (30.25ppm) and locally produced Gold Whitening Cream (8.20ppm).
The government institution urged the concerned individuals to take caution against the prevalent use of such harmful beauty products.
Mercury has long been used in skin whitening products due to its ability to block the production of melanin in the skin -- the pigment that gives color to skin. It is extremely toxic to health at high levels and can impact the body in various ways, reports CNN.
Mercury-laden cosmetics are restricted in most countries due to its toxic effects.