Trading Standards targets banned cosmetic substance as part of national drive

Edinburgh’s Trading Standards service has joined teams from local authorities across the country to crack down on cosmetic products including the banned substance, Methylisothiazolinone (MI).

Throughout October and November, local authority Trading Standards Services participated in a Scottish National Product Safety Group project focussing on MI.
 
Teams across the country will now target the inclusion of the substance in ‘rinse-off’ products such as shampoo and conditioner, which will be subject to new limits from 27 January. Products containing more than 0.0015% of MI will no longer be permitted to be supplied.
 
The preservative, which was banned from inclusion in ‘leave on’ cosmetics such as face cream and hair gel and wet wipes in February 2017, has been linked to skin irritation and allergy issues.
 
In Edinburgh, over 600 products have been removed from sale so far, with 330 of those items withdrawn from the market for the presence of MI. Products containing a banned skin lightener and others breaching the applicable Regulations were also found during the investigation. 
 
Transport and Environment Convener, Councillor Lesley Macinnes said: “Thanks to the thorough investigation by our Trading Standards team, we have been able to identify and remove a large number of potentially harmful products, helping ensure the safety of the public. We’re now working with importers and retailers to make sure they are up-to-date with changes about to take effect.”
 
Colin Baxter, Trading Standards Manager, said: “It has become clear that there is a significant degree of non-compliance in this area, and we are keen to highlight the upcoming changes to businesses. The presence of MI is concerning enough but many other issues were also identified such as labelling errors and presence of other banned ingredients (such as skin lightening Hydroquinone) which indicates businesses may not be fully aware of their responsibilities. Importers of cosmetics are fully responsible for their safety, and labelling, and all products must have the relevant product safety assessment.”
 
Paul Bannister, Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS) Lead Officer for Consumer Product Safety, said: “I am delighted that authorities throughout Scotland have been able to participate in this coordinated initiative, which demonstrates that changes in the law require to be communicated to businesses effectively, but also rigorously enforced.
 
“The protection of our citizens is paramount, and likewise those citizens must also have confidence that products on the shelves are of the highest level of safety.”
 
All cosmetics should be marked with a responsible person within the EU. Cosmetics should always be purchased from reputable retailers. Any issues can be reported to local Trading Standards via Citizens Advice on 03454 040506 or trading.standards@edinburgh.gov.uk. Businesses requiring advice should also get in touch with their local Trading Standards team.

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