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Bold Crackdown on Toxins in Cosmetics: Malaysia and Thailand Put Health First


In an assertive move to safeguard public health, the Malaysian and Thai governments have taken notable actions regarding certain toxic substances found in cosmetic products. 

These bold steps highlight the increasing vigilance of health authorities in Asia towards harmful ingredients. It also underscores the importance of robust product regulations for public safety.

Malaysia’s Determined Response to Toxins in Cosmetics

The Health Director-General of Malaysia, Datuk Dr Muhammad Radzi Abu Hassan, recently announced the revocation of the notification for Clemira Care Cream.  The cosmetic product was found to contain the scheduled toxin miconazole.

Consequently, Malaysia no longer permits the sale of this product. Dr Hassan stated that products containing miconazole must be registered with the Drug Control Authority and should only be used under the guidance of health professionals. He also urged sellers and distributors to halt the sale and distribution of this product immediately. Violators of this order risk a hefty fine of up to RM25,000 or imprisonment for up to three years, or both for first offences. Subsequent offences attract even sterner penalties.

Dr Hassan strongly advised discontinuing use. He also urged to seek advice from a health professional if encountering any discomfort or adverse effects.

Thailand’s Proactive Measures Against PFASs in Cosmetics

Concurrently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of Thailand announced its intentions to ban the use of 13 Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFASs) in cosmetic products. The FDA made this decisive move despite confirming that none of these substances are currently being used.

The proposed ban includes substances such as Perfluorooctane Sulfonate (PFOS) and Perfluorooctanoic Acid (PFOA), among others. These substances have come under global scrutiny due to their potential health risks. The FDA is awaiting final approval from the Minister of Public Health before issuing the definitive ban.

The Dark Side of Toxins in Cosmetics

Toxins such as miconazole and PFASs can pose significant health risks. Miconazole is typically used to treat fungal infections. It can cause severe skin reactions and interactions with other drugs when used without professional medical advice. Indeed, PFASs have earned the nickname ‘forever chemicals’ because of their resistance to degradation, persisting in the environment and human bodies alike. Medical studies have linked these substances to a host of health issues. They include hormonal disruption, immune system damage, and even cancer. Their potential to bioaccumulate also means their harmful effects can magnify over time. Therefore, it elevates the risk of long-term health problems. These inherent dangers underline why the proactive steps taken by health authorities in Malaysia and Thailand are critical in mitigating the exposure to these toxic substances through cosmetics, ultimately safeguarding public health.

Striving for Safer Cosmetics in Asia

The significant actions that the Malaysian and Thai health authorities have taken highlight the emphasis they place on health and safety in the cosmetics industry across Asia. They reflect an understanding of the potential hazards of toxins in cosmetics. Therefore, the governments are actively implementing regulations to curb their usage.

These proactive efforts underscore the importance of public health protection. It is a testament to the evolving global trend towards safer and healthier cosmetic products. With public health at the forefront, these measures serve as a potent reminder to manufacturers, distributors, and consumers alike about the paramount importance of safety in the cosmetics industry.

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