Shiseido sunscreen falls into cadmium crisis

CHINA - A batch of Shiseido sunscreen imported from Japan to China was found to contain cadmium and has now been destroyed, CBN Daily reported.

The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) recently announced that a batch of 3.6kg Shiseido Anessa sunscreen has been intercepted during entry inspection and quarantine. The cadmium-containing sunscreen was imported by the China Duty Free (Group) Co Ltd Qingdao Branch. It has been classified as harmful and likely to cause cadmium poisoning.

Cadmium and its compounds can damage the heart, liver, kidney, skeletal muscle and bone tissue, and may also induce hypertension, cardiac dilatation, miscarriages and lung cancer. The Hygienic Standard for Cosmetics in China prohibits the use of mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium in cosmetic ingredients.

Zinc blende, raw material of zinc compound commonly used in cosmetics, often contains cadmium. As an impurity, it is not allowed to exceed 40mg/kg in cosmetics.

"Our company is very concerned about this event and is contacting the headquarters in Japan and investigating the above product," a staff member from Shiseido (China) Co Ltd said.

Anessa is the star product in the sunscreen series of Shiseido and a 60ml bottle of Anessa sunscreen costs as much as 280 yuan (S$56). Staff at Shiseido said cosmetics sold by Shiseido (China) all receive China's formal approval of imported products and the products comply with the relevant provisions of the State.

Findings relating to the cadmium-containing Anessa sunscreen will be announced later on Monday.

Founded in 1872, Shiseido is the world's top-ranking international cosmetics company. However, in contrast with the continued growth of other cosmetics companies such as L'Oreal and Estee Lauder, Shiseido's latest 2012 filing shows its 2012 sales budget is expected to remain the same as the previous year, at 680 billion yen, while operating profit decreased by 37 per cent, to 24.5 billion yen.

To this end, Shiseido has announced a series of rationalization initiatives, including the closure of Japan's main production base, the Kamakura factory, shutting down research facilities in Yokohama and the expansion of early retirement deals.