Man fined over £100,000 over tooth whitening strips
In 2017 and 2018, the Lancashire Public Analyst lab tested teeth whitening strips for hydrogen peroxide content, which were found to be in excess of the permitted levels with 100 times the legal amount of bleaching agent allowed.
The business importing and selling the products was Ableton Ltd, the director which is Francis Reed, who had previously sold the same product under the company Franwood Ltd. On 21st March 2019, Mr Reed entered “guilty” pleas to a number of offences under the Cosmetic Products Regulations 2013 and the Trade Marks Act 1994, at Liverpool Crown Court. He was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 2 years, and 150 hours unpaid work. On 13th June, a Confiscation Order was made under the Proceeds of Crime Act, of £97,930 payable within 28 days and costs of £14,834 were awarded.
The prosecution was brought by St Helens Trading Standards after they received complaints from purchasers about the teeth whitening strips, which Reed imported from America for sale online via his website. Following the prosecution, regulators in Germany have also identified similar sellers of illegal bleaching strips and have taken legal action.
St Helens Council Cabinet Member for Environmental Services, including Trading Standards, Councillor Lynn Clarke said: “As more and more goods are sold online I would strongly urge residents to make sure that the products they purchase are genuine and legal. This is particularly important when it comes to beauty and cosmetic products which can be harmful, and even lethal, if they do not comply with safety laws. Always do your research, and try to buy from well-known and reputable retailers wherever possible.”
Anybody who suspects they may have purchased dangerous or unsafe goods on the internet are advised to contact Citizens Advice Consumer Help Line in the first instance by telephoning 03454 040506 or visiting their website here. Citizens Advice will then contact the relevant Trading Standards authority for support.