Singapore

Ointment for eczema found to have very high levels of arsenic: HSA

Members of the public are urged not to buy or use a health product called TCM Recipe Licozen Ointment, as it has been found to contain "very high levels" of arsenic. 

The product is advertised as a treament for eczema. 

The Health Sciences Authority (HSA) said they had been alerted to the product by a doctor. 

A mother had reported "dramatic improvement" in her child's chronic eczema after using the ointment, which she had bought from a retail store in the central part of Singapore. 

On its website, the ointment is advertised as a "homemade herbal eczema cream" and claims to be "100 per cent safe and natural" and "tested to be steroids-free". 

SCREENGRAB/TCMRECIPE.COM

Tests run by the HSA revealed that the product contained very high levels of arsenic. 

If applied to skin, arsenic can cause skin irritations, contract dermatisis (which has symptoms like rashes and blisters) or rashes resulting in skin peeling. 

Widespread, prolonged application and accidental ingestion of products containing high levels of arsenic may increase the chance of arsenic poisoning.

Possible symptoms of arsenic poisoning include vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, heart-related problems, breathing difficulties and numbness of the limbs.

The risk of experiencing these harmful effects may be higher when used by young children or on broken inflamed skin.

Sellers should stop the sales and distribution of the ointment immediately, said HSA.

Offenders may face a penalty fine of up to $5,000 and/or imprisonment for a period of up to two years under the Medicines Act if convicted.

Sellers are also reminded to be cautious when sourcing for health products to sell. It is the seller’s responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe and adhere to local legislations before they are made available in the market. 

Members of the public who come across or have any information on the sale and supply of TCM Recipe Licozen Ointment or other illegal products may contact HSA's Enforcement Branch at 68663485 during office hours (Monday to Friday) or email hsa_is@hsa.gov.sg

eczemaUncategorisedarsenicTraditional Chinese Medicine