The issue of contamination of SK-II skincare products has become a political rather than a health issue, a representative of the beauty industry in Hong Kong said yesterday. Jacky Choi Ho-sang, honorary life president of the Cosmetic and Perfumery Association of Hong Kong, said discussion about the brand centred on whether it met strict mainland standards. 'Each country's system is different. Failing to meet the standard in one country doesn't necessarily mean the products aren't safe,' Mr Choi said. 'This issue is getting political, and the impact is great. We are very worried. 'The basic question is, do these products affect our health?' Last week mainland authorities said they had found the banned chemicals chromium and neodymium in nine SK-II products imported from Japan. SK-II recalled all products on the mainland yesterday. Mr Choi said: 'The small amount [of metal] is not going to affect one's health. SK-II hasn't suspended sales of the products in any markets other than the mainland because the mainland has a different legal system.' Skin doctors said the metals were toxic, but users' health would be affected only if they used a substantial amount for a prolonged period. Dermatologist Leung Sze-kee said chromium could cause allergies and liver and kidney damage, 'but that takes a long time and the amount found is far from the toxic level'. Neodymium was a rare-earth metal which could damage the nervous system, 'but again, it will have such an effect only after prolonged usage'. Fellow dermatologist and Medical Association vice-president Louis Shih Tai-cho said: 'I don't think [the fact they contain metals] is a serious problem. During manufacturing it's impossible to get rid of all of these materials. That's why the European Union allows a certain level of these materials because they cannot be eradicated.' Dr Shih said Hong Kong authorities should have come out earlier to make clear what kind of danger the SK-II products - manufactured by cosmetics giant Procter & Gamble - posed. A Baptist University law professor said celebrities who endorsed products in advertising campaigns would not bear any legal responsibility if the products were faulty. 'We should take a reasonable approach,' Alex Lau Kun-luen said. 'Anybody could be hired to endorse a commercial product. But we are not experts. We can't find out if products contain something toxic. We don't have home laboratories.' Actresses Carina Lau Ka-ling and Sammi Cheng Sau-man promote SK-II in Hong Kong, the mainland, Taiwan and Southeast Asia. Lau's management company Jet Tone said her relationship with SK-II had not changed and she had not been told of any product faults. A spokeswoman for Cheng said she had likewise not been told of any faults.