FBI gives pointers on spotting fake cosmetics

Eye make up closeCounterfeit cosmetics are increasingly being found in the US and in some cases are "downright dangerous", according to the FBI.

The agency says both the National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Centre and cosmetics companies are reporting an uptick in counterfeit cosmetics and fragrances circulating in the marketplace - often distributed via the Internet - because the people behind the activity view it as a low-risk crime.

Some of the fake personal care and cosmetics products tested by the FBI have been found to contain toxic materials such as carcinogenic elements (arsenic, beryllium, and cadmium), high levels of aluminium and bacteria. They have been linked to the development of acne, psoriasis, rashes and eye infections.

Similarly, counterfeit fragrances have been found that contain the carcinogen DEHP (di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate) as well as urine.

"Because of the dangers to the public, law enforcement is mobilizing against counterfeit cosmetics and fragrances," said the FBI in a statement.

"The nearly two dozen US and foreign agencies that make up the National IPR Center are working on the matter - sharing intelligence with one another, coordinating with state and local law enforcement, and developing relationships with industry representatives," it added.

Members of the public who believe they have purchased a counterfeit should submit a report to the National IPR Centre here.

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