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Man fined for dangerous cosmetics

Published Tuesday, 24 November 2015

A proprietor, together with his company which sold cosmetic products containing dangerous substances, have been ordered to pay out a total of £16,000 in costs and fines after a successful prosecution by Enfield Council.

Kabamba Tabukanga, 53, of Hoe Lane, Enfield, admitted selling the products, which contained mercury and hydroquinone, and pleaded guilty to a total of 14 charges of not complying with the Cosmetic Products Safety Regulations 2008 at Tottenham Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 6 November.

Tabukanga was ordered to pay fines totalling £4,620, costs totalling £2,554 and a £120 victim surcharge after admitting the offences. On top of this his company, Gramadi Place Ltd, was ordered to pay fines totalling £6,160, costs totalling £2,554.

He was caught after a routine trading standards inspection led to the seizure of a number of skin lightening cosmetics containing the dangerous substances mercury and hydroquinone. In addition some of the product labels misreported the true levels of the chemicals they contained.

Enfield Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Daniel Anderson, said: “We will not tolerate businesses that put profits before the safety of our residents and Enfield Council will take quick and effective action against anyone who endangers the public by selling what are frankly dangerous products.

“This sentence sends out a very strong message, and I sincerely hope it deters others from selling this kind of unsafe merchandise.”

Hydroquinone can cause disfigurements resulting in blue-black pigments to be deposited on the skin, it can also cause itching, crusting and swelling of the skin. Using the chemical above a certain concentration in skin lightening products is banned in a number of countries, including the United States and across the European Union. 

Inorganic mercury in skin lightening soaps and creams can cause kidney damage, it can damage the nervous system and also interfere with brain development in unborn children. Breathing in the vapour can also be harmful. Mercury in skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections as well as other serious health problems.

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