Qatar’s health and environment authorities have banned the sale and use of four brands of shampoos which were recently found containing a high concentration of harmful substance called 1,4 dioxane.
The affected shampoos are Sehat Almond (serial number 6260031023230), Sehat Cedr (serial number 6260031010018), Clinic Plus (serial number 8901030210938) and Hayel Herbal (serial number 5020403050490).
The four shampoos found with 1,4 dioxane – a harmful chemical that could cause cancer
The compound 1,4 dioxane, if found above 10 part per million (ppm) in cosmetics products could cause cancer and other skin diseases.
The harmful contaminant was detected during a survey of cosmetics products carried out by a committee early last month.
The committee comprised representatives of the Ministry of Environment, the Supreme Council of Health, the Ministry of Municipality Affairs and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Business and Commerce.
“We commissioned a survey of cosmetic products on June 3 during which a total of 20 different shampoos were checked in our laboratory to see if they were within the general specifications fit for human use and we found these four products with a very high concentration of 1,4 dioxane, which is above 10ppm,” Dr Saif Mohamed al-Kuwari, director general of the Qatar Laboratory and Standardisation Affairs (QLSA) said at a press conference yesterday.
He said the US Food and Drugs Agency (FDA) has put a limit on the amount of the chemical that could be present in cosmetics products.
According to the FDA, 1,4-dioxane is a contaminant that may be present in extremely small amounts in some cosmetics.
“The compound 1,4 dioxane forms as a by-product during the manufacturing process of certain cosmetic ingredients. These ingredients include certain detergents, foaming agents, emulsifiers and solvents. However, 1,4-dioxane itself is not used as a cosmetic ingredient,” the FDA says on its website.
Dr al-Kuwari said a team of inspectors from the Ministry of Municipality Affairs has started withdrawing the products from the market.
However, he urged people who have already bought the shampoos to stop using them and also to take them to the Doha Municipality’s Public Health Affairs Department for testing.
The total quantity of the affected shampoos is still unknown, the official said adding the market survey and testing of more types of shampoos will continue until September.
He said that affected products will be made known as soon as they are discovered.
He added that the QLSA conducts regular check on cosmetics, adding that other products such as body creams will be subjected to special testing in another survey to be conducted in due course.
Dr al-Kuwari said since July 1, it has become mandatory for all importers and traders of cosmetic products to produce conformity certificate issued by an approved laboratory from the country of importation.
“We are now very strict with local companies and other parties concerned involved in the import of cosmetic products as we are now scrutinising every batch of the product coming into the country. We check to make sure cosmetics are made according to the specifications and in compliance with health and safety guidelines,” he added.
Also speaking at the conference, the Ministry of Municipality Affairs Public Health Department assistant director Dr Mohamed al-Kaabi urged traders and suppliers to ensure that imported products were free from dioxane. He also urged them to co-operate with the authorities in ensuring the safety and wellness of consumers.
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