Published: Thursday 15 January 1998

Authorities in Thailand have warned that certain brands of cheap cosmetics sold in the markets could contain mercury and cause kidney failure or even death. The Food and Drug Administration has banned 21 harmful products found on sale in the country and has set up a hotline offering rewards to consumers who inform the authorities if they find them in the shops.

Some creams and lotions being sold in Thailand contain hydro-quinone, a substance used in photographic developers. It serves as a skin whitener but can lead to permanent blemishes.

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