TL;DR – 3,604 times more mercury than permitted levels.
The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) announced on Monday May 22 that the Royal Expert Whitening Cream sold online on sites such as Lazada and Qoo10 has been found to contain exceedingly high levels of mercury.
After being alerted by the Consumers Association of Singapore (CASE), HSA conducted tests on several samples and found that all the samples tested positive for high mercury levels.
According to CASE, the product was found to have 3,604 μg/g of mercury, much higher than the permissible level of less than 1μg/g.
Mercury is a toxic substance and is prohibited for use in cosmetic products. It causes rash, skin discolouration and blotching and can even affect a person’s kidneys and nervous system.
Why was it available for sale in the first place?
If you’re wondering why was it available for sale in the first place – while companies or individuals who intend to sell or supply a cosmetic product in Singapore are required to notify HSA prior to selling or supplying the product in the local market, sellers are directly responsible for the safety and quality of their products and are required to comply with the requirements under Health Products (Cosmetic Products – ASEAN Cosmetic Directive) Regulations.
That is to say, products are not tested prior to sale in Singapore. The onus is on the seller to make sure the products are compliant with safety standards and regulations. It is hence my personal advice that consumers do due diligence before purchasing cosmetic products, especially from online marketplaces.