Test Revealed: One Lip Balm Model Contains Plasticizer - CHOICE #
425 (March 15, 2012)
In the Council's test on lip balm, one sample was found to
contain DEHP, a type of phthalate plasticizers which is prohibited
for use in cosmetics in many countries.
Consumer Council conducted a test on 30 models of lip balm
available on the market, with prices ranging from HK$12 to HK$64.
Among them, 3 samples were labelled as lip balm for men and some of
the samples were marked as medicated.
Test items included checks on heavy metals, chemicals and
microbial contents. The Council also examined if necessary product
information was provided.
In the test, one sample was found to contain the prohibited
chemical bis-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) at a level of 14.8
ppm. The test result has been referred to the Customs and Excise
Department for follow-up.
Certain phthalates are prohibited to be used as constituents in
cosmetic products under the European and Mainland regulations.
According to studies on phthalates in cosmetic products in Europe,
products with a low level of DEHP (up to 100 ppm) do not indicate a
risk to the health of consumers. However, consumers should avoid
exposure to DEHP.
In the tests for heavy metals and toxic elements, trace level of
lead was found in 14 samples, with concentration ranging from
0.033ppm to 0.096ppm, which was far below the limits set by the
Mainland (40ppm) and Germany (20ppm). Meanwhile, 2 samples were
found to contain trace level of antimony. The concentration level
ranged from 0.094ppm to 0.11ppm, which was far below the maximum
acceptable concentration of 10ppm set by Germany.
For the 5 commonly used parabens, methylparaben and
propylparaben were detected in 4 samples and 7 samples
respectively. The concentration level of those samples was in
compliance with the relevant standards set for parabens used in
cosmetic products in the Mainland and European Union.
Parabens are allowed for use as preservatives in cosmetic
products to inhibit the growth of microorganism.
For the test on microbial contents, all the products tested were
found to be in compliance with the standards set by the
The information included in the labels of the lip balm samples,
however, needs improvement. It was found that 8 samples did not
show the expiry date and 22 samples did not show the manufacture
date. Also, 8 samples failed to provide information on the lists of
composition and 10 samples did not carry user alerts.
The Council is of the view that manufacturers should label the
date of manufacture and expiry on their products so that consumers
can avoid buying or using expired products. They should also come
with information on composition and cautions to users for assisting
consumers with skin allergy to choose the appropriate items.
The March issue of CHOICE magazine offers the following tips for
consumers in selecting and using lip balm:
There is no significant difference between the lip balms
medicated and non-medicated. The former are likely to contain
herbal substances which relieve chapped lips.
If lips are prone to allergy, choose lip balms with basic and
simple ingredients and no additive.
Lip products which claim for use overnight may contain alpha
hydroxy acids (AHA) which may lead to peeling of lips. Consumers
are advised to read the labels carefully before use.
Consumers with lip infection should use lip balm with simple
constituents and should avoid getting in touch with allergens. If
the infection continues, consumers should seek medical advice.
Lip licking, biting and tearing off dry lip skin will only cause
the loss of moisture on the lips and it may even lead to
|CHOICE magazine is now
also available online (http://choice.yp.com.hk)
and via fixed-line and mobile services of PCCW.
Members from the
media who are invited by this Council to the Press Conference may
quote the content of this Press Statement.
The Consumer Council
reserves all its right (including copyright) in respect of CHOICE
magazine and Onlin CHOICE ( http://choice.yp.com.hk