China is known for a number of imitation products from copycat designer handbags to Apple’s $37 knockoff iPhone 6s. Though many of these China-made items are harmless, some of them are potentially dangerous and harmful to consumers.
A line of imitation makeup, perfume and skincare products made in China have been found to contain mercury, lead, arsenic, cyanide, human urine and rat droppings. According to Mashable, Chinese counterfeit cosmetics are a real concern that have caused severe side effects and skin allergies such as rashes and burns. In some cases, long-term damages include disfigurement, high blood pressure and infertility.
Popular replicas of top-selling brands are now being sold online to shoppers internationally. Foreign governments around the world are issuing alerts on the fake beauty products manufactured in China under the guise of bestselling brands that include MAC, Benefit and Urban Decay.
A warning from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security last year revealed that fake beauty products from China tested positive for a number of toxins. Earlier in May of this year, the City of London police issued a national alert regarding a shipment of over 4,700 imitation versions of MAC products. The container discovered by London police included cosmetic products like lip gloss, foundation, eyebrow pencils, eye shadow and bronzer.
The fake makeup was manufactured in Chinese laboratories and sold via eBay and Amazon to customers in the U.K and Eastern Europe. Not only does the makeup have the potential to harm consumers, but the influx of bootleg Chinese cosmetics also harms the economy. The U.S. estimated a retail loss of $188 million for American companies in 2010.