Sat, Oct 28, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Trick or dangerous treat?

By Max Hirsch  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Consumers' Foundation yesterday alleges at a press conference in Taipei that six major make-up brands on sale for Halloween contained excessive amounts of heavy metals and dangerous chemicals.

PHOTO: SUNG CHIH-HSIUNG, TAIPEI TIMES

The Consumers' Foundation slammed Halloween make-up manufacturers yesterday, alleging that six major make-up brands failed to meet safety standards.

Four companies -- Faber-Castell (a German-based art supplies manufacturer), Huan-yu Co Ltd, Simbalion Co Ltd and Lucky Art industrial Co Ltd -- were singled out by the foundation in a press conference for allegedly selling make-up that contained excessive amounts of heavy metals and dangerous chemicals.

"A large number of these products are heavy metal-based," said foundation member Wu Chia-cheng (吳家誠), adding that the dangerous ingredients could interfere with the nervous system and cardiovascular functions.

"It's possible that people could die if this stuff gets in their system in large amounts," Wu claimed, saying that children could easily absorb the ingredients through their skin, or breathe in the products' fumes.

Foundation spokesman Yu Kai-hsiung (游開雄) said the inspected products were poorly labeled and called on the Cabinet-level Consumer Protection Commission to crack down on the companies.

In response to a question by the Taipei Times, Yu said the foundation hadn't contacted the four manufacturers regarding their allegedly toxic products.

Huang Li-hsieh (黃麗雪) of Lucky Art Industrial Co yesterday denied the company's products were toxic.

"Our products are inspected closely to make sure heavy metal-related safety standards are met," she said.

Simbalion spokeswoman Ivy Chung (鍾燕雯) told the Taipei Times by phone that the foundation's accusations were false.

"Not only have our products passed ITS national safety standards, they also meet US and European standards for such products," Chung said.

Rebutting the foundation's claim that its products contained excessive barium amounts, Chung said the barium content level in its red Halloween make-up products was 91 parts per million (ppm), well within the official 250-ppm limit stated in the foundation's press release.

Faber-Castell and Huan-yu could not be reached for comment.

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