MOST cosmetics available in the Bangladeshi market may cause serious harm to beauty seekers as those contain heavy metals, according to the opinion of experts in a report carried by the United News of Bangladesh (UNB) on Sunday. It said that the Bangladeshi market is flooded with Indian beauty products and since the government has no control over their sales, people’s health remains vulnerable to high risks. The report said the presence of heavy metals in Indian cosmetics is a serious threat to Bangladeshi beauty seekers too. Quoting some local physicians who made the comment based on the findings of an Indian study recently conducted by the New Delhi-based Centre for Science and Environment, the report in fact appears as a big eye opener to the real risks of using such cosmetics without knowing their adverse impacts on public health. The report said that fairness creams, endorsed by some of the biggest Bollywood names could contain mercury which is an element universally recognized as extremely toxic. Lipsticks may come packed with chromium, which is carcinogenic. The local physicians further said ‘contract allergy’ may be developed in the skin due to use of nickel and mercury mixed creams. They said “if the human skin absorbs more mercury, it can affect the liver apart from developing skin cancer.” Pointed to the lack of a regulatory regime and a similar lack of government control over the marketing of beauty products, they warned that users remain highly exposed to serious health hazards by using those products. They said nickel present in cosmetics contribute to the spread of eczema and there is no doubt that Indian lipsticks will similarly contribute to increased eczema among users. About the mercury they said it can affect the child in the mother’s womb after the use of mercury-contained fairness cream as it poses a threat to a developing child in the womb. The study findings disclosed a high level presence of heavy metals and chemicals in cosmetic products, which the producers use to increase the fairness and also make them easy to use. But their cost to human health is enormous and totally ignored. The report is hefty and highly informative of metal and chemical contents in each and every major cosmetics item but it is not possible to produce details in this editorial. It is enough we believe to warn the users to be aware of their health risks while using the Indian made cosmetics and some other cosmetics, which are produced in some other countries. As we see, the issue is highly delicate. Beauty seekers, particularly women use cosmetics as an integral part of their everyday life and Indian producers and marketing companies are exploiting the huge Bangladesh market supplying the products at low cost. We believe that Bangladesh government must set up test laboratories immediately to screen out the metal contents of these products and prohibit the marketing of those which contain high levels of harmful materials. Moreover, since banning is not possible in a free market economy, public awareness must be developed about their health risks. Marketing companies may also be asked to put the metal contents of the products on the labels and covers so that people can decide.