BEIJING - Procter & Gamble Co. said Friday it has suspended sales of its
SK-II products in China after authorities discovered banned substances in its
popular skin care range, prompting angry outbursts from consumers seeking
The US consumer products giant decided to take action in China, including
temporarily shutting its SK-II sales counters nationwide, in part due to
"security incidents" between customers and employees at some of its sales
counters, said Charles Zhang, external relations manager for P&G Greater
Customers wait in line to return SK-II skincare products in
Shanghai on Wednesday, September 20, 2006. Neodymium and chromium -
substances banned in cosmetics which can cause allergic dermatitis and
eczema - were detected last week in the Japanese cosmetic brand SK-II.
The Shanghai Daily newspaper reported that police were called to the Park
Hotel in Shanghai on Wednesday to help deal with some 400 angry consumers
seeking refunds on SK-II products.
The report said customers were upset they had to sign a waiver saying there
was nothing wrong with the quality of the cosmetics and that they would have to
wait one month before getting a cash refund.
China's quality and inspection regulators in local cities, as well as the
General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, have
asked the company to take action after finding trace amounts of chromium and
neodymium in SK-II products, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
Chromium and neodymium can cause skin allergies and other illnesses.
The sales suspension will give the company time to get more information from
the Chinese government about their test results, Zhang said.
Cincinnati, Ohio-based P&G said in a statement on its Web site that it
was confident its Japanese-made SK-II products comply with safety standards and
regulations required by health authorities in the US, Canada and the EU.
The company's Japanese Web site assured domestic customers that the products
"of course meet the standards for quality and safety expected of cosmetics in
Japan, and there are no problems."
The were no immediate reports of products recalls outside China.
"The Chinese government recently raised questions about two elements found at
trace levels in SK-II products. SK-II does not add these elements as ingredients
in any of our products," the statement said.
Zhang said the chromium and neodymium were not deliberately added but
Chromium can cause eczema while neodymium irritates the skin and can damgage
the lungs and liver if inhaled.
Earlier in the week, the General Administration of Quality Supervision,
Inspection and Quarantine warned that China would ban imports of SK-II products
if any further contamination was discovered.