Toxic chemicals in commonly used beauty products in Bangladesh: A Potential Threat to Human Health and Environment


There are so many toxic chemicals in both imported and exported beauty products of Bangladesh which is so alarming for human health and environment. Titanium (Ti) was found in high concentration especially in skin brightening cream and baby lotion, which is carcinogenic. This information was found from a study named ‘Toxic Chemicals in Beauty Products- A  Potential Threat to Human Health and Environment’.

Syed Marghub Murshed, former Secretary of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Chairperson of  ESDO disclosed the result of the study at the press conference which was held at ESDO’s head office, House# 8/1,Block#c,level 5, Lalmatia, Dhaka on 5th March, 2016, Thursday.News 2

It was seen from the study that Titanium was found in more than 78% skin fairness and bleaching cream, which is two times more harmful than Mercury and also carcinogenic. Titanium was found 241 ppm in a widely used baby lotion and average concentration of Zinc in baby lotion was 9.03 ppm. Average concentration of Arsenic in skin brightening cream was found 1630.06 ppm.  86% of the Face wash samples contained high content of Calcium, where the average concentration of Calcium was ~ 713 ppm. Nickel, Zinc, Arsenic and Calcium were found in all face wash samples.  Herbal products were found to contain much more Titanium and other heavy metals than synthetic beauty products contain.

In 2015, ESDO purchased thirty three most popular and commonly used beauty products from different areas of Dhaka city including Dhaka New market, Chawk bazaar, Rapa Plaza (Dhanmondi). All cosmetics were categorized in five common categories, i.e. Face Wash, herbal face pack, Skin whitening cream, Hair gel for men and baby Lotion.  Samples of the twelve face wash packs of which two were herbal, sixteen skin whitening cream, two hair gel and three baby lotion from manufacturers of different countries were examined. ESDO’s main objective of this study was to “determine the exact level and concentration of toxic chemicals and heavy metal used in beauty products.’’

Newa 1Syed Marghub Murshed said, Almost all beauty product sample contained at least three heavy metals and toxic chemicals with very high concentration.  Long time exposure of these metals can be carcinogenic. The toxic chemicals that are found in the cosmetics and beauty products have several effects which are detrimental for both human health and environment.

Dr. Abu Jafor Mahmood, Professor (Retired), Department of Chemistry, University of Dhaka was also present at the press conference as research advisor. At the event Dr. Abu Jafor Mahmood explained the importance that why consumer should avoid all types of chemicals containing herbal and synthetic beauty products.

Dr. Shahriar Hossain, Co-chair of Asian Center and Secretary General of ESDO & Siddika Sultana, Executive Director, ESDO , Director  of Asian Centre for Environmental Health, were there to share their opinion about the importance of  the regulation to limit the maximum toxic chemicals concentration in Beauty products.

Based on the study there are some recommendations for Government, related Agencies, Consumers-

  • It should be mandatory to level with accurate concentration for all manufacturers.
  • BSTI should enact specific standard for baby products and herbal products. (As this study revealed that baby product and herbal products contained much more heavy metals than other beauty product).
  • Corporate – Social responsibility should increase.
  • Leveling before buying all beauty products should be checked out.
  • All type of chemical and synthetic beauty products should be avoided.


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