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South Korea

K-beauty heavy metal scare: 13 products recalled over excess antimony levels, including some sold in Hong Kong

Etude House, Black Monster, 3CE, and Skinfood cosmetics for men and women among those banned from sale by South Korean authorities this week

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2018, 3:31pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 March, 2018, 3:32pm

The South Korean government has banned the sale of 13 cosmetics products found to contain unsafe levels of the heavy metal antimony. Some of the products, including eyebrow pencils from Etude House and 3CE, were previously available in Hong Kong, and have now been taken off store shelves.

According to the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in South Korea, antimony at levels ranging from 10.1 parts per million (ppm) to 14.3ppm was found in 13 products; the maximum legally permitted antimony level is 10 ppm.

The department ordered recalls of the products on Monday. AmorePacific Group, whose brands accounted for six of the products, issued an apology to customers on Tuesday. 

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Antimony is found in consumer products, including batteries and electrical appliances, and has been detected in food packaging and toys. Research has shown that chronic exposure to antimony in the air can lead to irritation of the skin, eyes and lungs, while drinking high levels of the metal in water could cause vomiting and abdominal pain. 

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Among the 13 products recalled are:

Aritaum’s Full Cover Cream Concealer and Stick Concealer; 

Etude House’s AC Clean Up Mild Concealer; 

Black Monster Homme Black Erasing Pen; 

XTM Style Homme For Men Easy Stick Concealer; 

SKEDA Concealer; 

Skinfood Cherry Full Lip Liner; 

3CE Slim Eyebrow Pencil (chestnut brown shade) 

Makeheal Naked Slim Brow Pencil (shades BR0203 and YL0801)