People are being warned about fake cosmetics after "toxic" chemicals such as mercury were found in seized goods.
Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit beauty products have been seized, including well-known brands MAC, Nars, Chanel and Benefit. It said the products could "pose serious health risks", as well as defrauding consumers and businesses. The Local Government Association (LGA) said some of the chemicals found in these copycat products could cause chemical burns and skin rashes. It also warned that exposure to mercury in fake cosmetics could have "toxic effects on the nervous system, digestive and immune systems, lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes".
One recent example it gave was a haul of cosmetics - seized by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards - which were found to contain mercury and illegal levels of the skin-whitening agent hydroquinone.
Other council investigations found:
- One woman who had received more than £48,000 from the sales of fake make-up in Nottingham. She was also found to have sold almost 350 fake Benefit mascaras alongside another woman, with an eBay sales value of £1,690.
- A tanning salon owner in Cheshire which sold more than £100,000 worth of fake designer products, including MAC and Chanel make-up.
- Police have previously warned of substances such as rat droppings, human urine and arsenic being found in fake beauty products.
The sale of counterfeit designer products costs the taxpayer and businesses thousands of pounds every year.