Skin Food faces allegations by a consumer advoacy group that its nail polish contains hazardous ingredients.
By Kim Tong-hyung
Women are being exposed to health risks related to hazardous chemicals used in the common cosmetics products of budget brands like Skin Food, according to consumer activists who warn buyers not to confuse cheapness with value.
The Hong Kong Consumer Council earlier this month announced that it had found toxic and cancer-causing substances, such as benzene and methanol, in samples of nail polishes produced by Korean companies Skin Food and BNC Manicure.
Among the items exposed in Hong Kong, Skin Food’s ``Milk Creamy Nail Base Coat’’ and ``Jojoba Pure Nail’’ are currently being sold to Korean consumers, according to Consumers Korea, which called for the Korea Food and Drug Administration (KFDA) to suspend sales of the products immediately and seize inventory.
However, an official at Skin Food claimed that its nail polish is safe enough for use, claiming that the company has never used benzene and methanol in any of its products and is also questioning the reliability of the tests conducted in Hong Kong.
``We never used benzene or methanol and there is hardly a need to. We have no idea how the chemicals ended up in the tests conducted in Hong Kong, but we will continue to cooperate closely with the KFDA to work out future measures,’’ she said.
Korean law prevents cosmetics makers from using benzene and methanol in their products, although it doesn’t provide regulations for toluene, which was found in both of Skin Food’s nail polishes that are sold locally, according to reports from Hong Kong. However, the 17 percent toluene found in Milky Creamy Nail Base Coat and 14 percent in Jojoba Pure Nail were below the 25 percent limit set in the European Union’s cosmetic directive.
The Milk Creamy Nail Base Coat and Jojoba Pure Nail were found to contain 11 parts per million (ppm) and 9.7 ppm of benzene, respectively. The concentration of benzene ranged from 9.7 ppm to 260 ppm in the samples of BNC Manicure’s nail polish, which was also found to have 41,000 ppm of methanol, or 20 times the maximum allowable limit set in Hong Kong.
Benzene is known as a carcinogen with a particular link to leukemia, while methanol is highly toxic. Aside of the products of Skin Food and BNC Manicure, the Hong Kong Consumer Council also found dangerous toxins in nail polishes from small-to-midsized makers such as Callar of France, Hong Kong’s Violili, and Flower, whose labeling doesn’t identify the country of origin.
``The KFDA should suspend the sales of the Skin Food products immediately and also seize inventory, and there should be more talks about establishing regulations for toluene in cosmetic products,’’ said a representative from Consumers Korea.
스킨푸드 매니큐어, 과연 위험한가
스킨푸드 등 국내 저가 화장품 브랜드의 매니큐어 제품에 포함된 유해 화학물질이 한국 여성들의 건강을 위협하고 있다는 소비자단체의 주장이 나왔다. 홍콩소비자위원회는 벤젠, 메탄올 등 화장품 배합금지성분으로 지정된 성분이 스킨푸드, BNC매니큐어등 한국산 화장품에 포함됬다고 지난 16일 발표했었다.
한국의 시민단체인 소비자시민모임에 의하면 홍콩에서 적발된 제품 중 스킨푸드의 밀크 크리미 네일 베이스 코트와 호호바 퓨어네일이 국내에서 여전이 유통되고 있다. 소비자시민모임은 식약청에 해당 제품에 대한 전량수거와 판매금지를 요청하였다.
그러나 스킨푸드 관계자는 회사가 그 어떤 제품에도 벤젠과 메탄올을 쓴 적이 없다고 주장하면서 홍콩소비자위원회의 실험 결과에 의혹을 제기하였다.
그녀는 ``우리는 그 어떠한 제품에도 벤젠과 메탄올을 쓴 일이 없고 그럴 필요도 없었다. 홍콩에서 어떻게 그런 테스트 결과가 나왔는지 모르겠으나 식약청과 향후 대응을 논의하겠다,'' 라고 밝혔다.