Consumer protection in Hong Kong

Have sensitive skin? Watch out for dishwashing liquids with unclear labelling, watchdog says

The Consumer Council reviewed 35 products and found that 21 had a preservative that could cause allergic reactions for those with sensitive skin

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 7:01pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 March, 2018, 11:06pm

At least 21 dishwashing liquid products available in Hong Kong do not give buyers a full list of component ingredients, so they cannot spot chemicals that are bad for those with sensitive skin, the consumer watchdog said on Thursday.

And at least 12 products on supermarket shelves do not even carry a list of ingredients.

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The Consumer Council released findings of its review of 35 detergents on Thursday, in its monthly Choice magazine.

It reviewed products by brands such as Axion, Fairy and Axe and house brands produced by supermarket chains.

It also found that 21 detergents contained a preservative that might cause allergic reactions such as skin inflammation and itchiness.

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Gilly Wong Fung-han, the council’s chief executive, said that the dishwashing liquid manufacturers told the council they had conducted their own safety tests.

But items without preservatives would always be better for consumers prone to skin allergies, than those that had a trace of such chemicals, she said.

“This is why we need to provide the information to the consumers so they can transparently pick a product they want.”

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What was also dubious, the council pointed out, was that labels on five of the detergents said they could be used for cleaning fruits and vegetables.

Asked if the detergents were harmful if swallowed, the council’s chairman for its publicity and community relations committee, Clement Chan Kam-wing, said: “Our initial finding is all these identified ingredients, even if you take it in through the mouth accidentally, it wouldn’t cause grave or big damage to your body.

“But having said that, we still think that manufacturers should be more transparent and more responsible for labelling all these ingredients for the information of the users.”