Taiwan takes South Korean beauty products off shelves due to heavy metal content  

Two products from Etude House have been pulled off shelves in Taiwan stores

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TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Taiwan's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has taken two products from South Korean cosmetics brand Etude House off shelves after excessive levels of toxic ingredients were found.

On March 19, the South Korean authorities discovered 13 products from various local cosmetic brands containing excessive levels of antimony, a heavy metal that can cause irritation to the eyes, lungs, and skin, while drinking levels of the metal in water can cause vomiting and abdominal pain.

South Korean cosmetics giant AmorePacific Group accounted for six of the 13 products, with two of its brands affected, Etude House and Aritaum. The company had to issue an apology to customers on Tuesday. 

In Taiwan, the FDA also found two products from Etude House with a high level of antimony, including skin concealers and eyebrow pencils, the Central News Agency reported.

According to FDA spokesman Hung Kuo-teng (洪國登), the recall involved the removal of 241 skin concealers and 62 eyebrow pencils from shelves on Wednesday. The FDA said it would continue to check for problematic products in night markets and online shopping outlets. 

In South Korea, the maximum legally permitted level of antimony is 10 parts per million (ppm). However, 13 products recalled were found to contain levels ranging from 10.1 ppm to 14.3 ppm. In addition, Taiwan has banned the content of antimony in beauty products since 1994; however, antimony can partially remain in the products during the process of raw material extraction, Hung said.