Fluorescent red dye on lipsticks could be the kiss of death, the Consumer Council warned yesterday. Two cancer-causing dyes, rhodamine B and permanent orange, were found in nine out of 43 low-market brands of lipstick ranging in price from $10 to $70. Rhodamine B gives off a slight red glow and permanent orange is mixed with other dyes to obtain a light red colour. Customs officers have confiscated 34,767 lipsticks from the nine brands worth more than $500,000 and have banned six distributors from supplying them. Another 20 retail stores have been told to stop selling the products or face prosecution. All nine brands - named as Mei Linda, Le's Angela, Madonna, Romance, Charntee, Lauren's, Magique, Shoynear and Switch - are made in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, except Switch, which is produced in Cana-da. Dr Michael Tsui Fuk-sun, the council's vice-chairman, said consumers should stop using the brands. 'Because Hong Kong does not have specific cosmetic laws, it is not just a matter of law enforcement but also of informed and wise choice by consumers to avoid dangerous products,' he explained. A similar survey in 1993 found five out of 29 brands contained rhodamine B, Dr Tsui added, indicating that the problem remained serious. 'More guidelines and regulations on the kinds and levels of chemicals might be necessary to deal with this problem,' he said. Cheung Kan-wun, the deputy chief of Customs and Excise's Trading Standards Investigation Bureau, said customers should beware when they could not find labels on the brands that listed the chemical contents. 'Labels are not required by law but higher priced brands usually have them and we have found them to be reliable,' he said.