Adulterated cosmetics and toiletries in the name of reputed local and international brands are selling widely in the capital and other parts of the country.A regular use of such fake cosmetic products is likely to expose the consumers to different forms of skin diseases and other complications for they reportedly contain harmful chemicals.
Taking the advantage of lax monitoring by law enforcement agencies, a section of unscrupulous manufacturers and traders produces and sells duplicate beauty products, thus making a brisk business.
It is also very difficult for ordinary consumers to differentiate between authentic and fake beauty products, sources said.
Sarwoer Alam, executive magistrate of RAB, said: “The demand for beauty and skincare products has increased among the people. By exploiting this demand, the market has become flooded with fake cosmetics.”
“We have seen that they duplicate the products in three ways. A group of unscrupulous businessmen import empty bottles from China. Some manufacture products and bottle them in the name of different companies. Thirdly, they buy empty bottles of used products from the market, clean them, refill them with counterfeit products and sell it,” he added.
He also said: “They make a variety of products, which are very harmful. Using these products can lead to various problems and even cancer.”Health experts said these cosmetics, made with dangerous chemicals, can cause serious harm to skin and hair instead of serving the purpose of enhancing beauty. These substances can cause itching, hair loss, swelling, pigmentation and even skin cancer.
During investigation it was learnt that most fake cosmetics factories are situated in Jinjira, Kalindi of Keraniganj area, Chawkbazar, Begumbazar, Rahmatganj, Kamalbagh, Khazi Dewan, Islambagh, Debidas Ghat, Borokatra, Chotokatra and Kamrangirchar areas.
Fake beauty products like face creams, face powder, soap, lotion, shampoo, snow, cream, powder, face-wash, lipstick, nail polish, nail-polish remover, liquid makeup, etc, are being produced in these factories.
The syndicates are using labels of reputed international and local brands including Lakme, L’Oréal, Kiss, Dove, Clear, Pantene, Head & Shoulders, Garnier, Johnson and Johnson, Nivea, Unilever, etc.
Later, the products are sent to Chawkbazar, the capital’s largest wholesale market.
From Chawkbazar, the products are supplied to various shopping complex including New Market, Gulistan, Sadarghat, Mitford, Jatrabari, Elephant Road, Mirpur, Rajdhani Market, Farmgate, Motijheel, Mohammadpur, Banani and other markets in the capital.
Source said some traders imported a huge amount of cheap cosmetics from India, China and Thailand.
Contacted, Dr AK Lutful Kabir, associate professor of Department of Pharmaceutical Technology of Dhaka University, told daily sun, “Like medicine, cosmetics also reach our blood through our skin.”
“If cosmetics are adulterated or made with toxic chemicals, then it is definitely harmful to our body. Even it may cause cancer. Women are the main consumers of cosmetics and so they are most vulnerable,” he added.
The academician suggested that the consumers, specially the women, should use natural products instead of chemical ones to avoid the use of counterfeit products.
On September 8, a mobile court of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) adulterated cosmetics worth Tk3.5 crore, sealed off 4 warehouses and 3 showrooms of Taqwa Enterprise and jailed 5 persons for marketing fake cosmetics in Chawkbazar area.
Sarwoer Alam, executive magistrate of RAB, said, “The company we raided Tuesday bought empty bottles from China and marketed them by refilling counterfeit products locally.”
“They are making fake products like Johnson and Johnson Shampoo, Johnson and Johnson Powder, Skin Lightening Cream, Lotion etc,” he added.
BSTI field officer Sharif Hossain said a total of four godowns from the first floor to the fifth floor of Taqwa Enterprise were found in Taj Mahal Tower during operation.
They have been marketing about 50 types of counterfeit products including various brands of whitening creams, lotions, shampoos and soaps. None of the seized products were approved by the BSTI.
BSTI officer said these whitening creams are harmful to human body. They use hydroquinone and mercury which are very detrimental. The use of these chemicals can lead to cancer.
On August 24, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) sealed off a fake cosmetics factory in Chawkbazar area of old town.
On July 8, Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) seized fake cosmetics worth around Tk1 crore in Bangshal area of the capital.