Huge haul of cancer-linked cosmetics seized at Heathrow

Claire Hodgson, Trading Standards officer for Surrey County Council Image copyright Surrey County Council
Image caption Claire Hodgson, a trading standards officer for Surrey County Council, with some of the 3,000 item haul

A massive haul of illegal cosmetics, including some which contained ingredients linked to cancer, has been seized at Heathrow Airport.

Surrey County Council trading officers said the 752kg (118 stone) haul was one of the largest ever impounded.

Of the 3,000 items seized, more than 1,000 contained hydroquinone, a substance banned in the EU because it can cause cancer and liver conditions.

The items will be destroyed by trading officials within the next month.

Other products contained prescription medicines or were wrongly labelled.

Dangerous substances

The cosmetics, which came from the Ivory Coast and were intended to be distributed to shops, were impounded by trading standards officers at the end of 2013.

The cosmetics have only recently been found to contain such dangerous substances due to lengthy testing procedures.

Helyn Clack, a spokesperson for the council said: "Seizing these cosmetics at Heathrow means our trading standards officers are keeping people safe from potentially life-threatening ingredients linked to cancer."

A similar batch containing 600kg (94 stone) of items were also recently seized by trading officers at the airport.

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