Revealed: The 2m unsafe products siezed at UK ports

Unsafe goods at Southampton Port which were part of almost two million unsafe products intercepted at border entry points last year.
Unsafe goods at Southampton Port which were part of almost two million unsafe products intercepted at border entry points last year.
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CARCINOGENIC skin lightening creams and chainsaws with faulty kill switches were among almost 2m unsafe products intercepted at border entry points last year.

Trading standards officials warned consumers to take care shopping online after discovering 1.9m unsafe or non compliant products, including tooth whitening kits with 61 times the permitted level of hydrogen peroxide.

National Trading Standards who operate at airports, ports and postal hubs said the items found - equating to more than 6,500 a day - were thought to be the “tip of the iceberg”.

Almost 1,000 chainsaws from China with crucial faults like kill switches that did not immediately stop the motor were among items seized.

Between July and November, 63 per cent of LED lightbulbs tested at various UK border points were found to be unsafe or non-compliant.

More than 670,000 cosmetic products including shampoo, skin whitening cream, soap, skin lightening oil, henna products, body lotion and face cream were identified as unsafe or non-compliant at UK border points between April and December.

Nearly two in five interventions by its Safety at Ports and Borders teams in the nine months to last December identified unsafe products which posed a risk to the health or safety of consumers.

It estimated that removing the items from the supply chain saved the UK economy more than £57m in potential costs of injuries, fatalities or fires.

National Trading Standards has produced a checklist to help people shop safely online, with tips such as checking the reviews of the product and noting if there is a way of contacting the seller offline.

NTS chairman Lord Toby Harris said: “In this country it is easy to take for granted that everything we buy will be safe.

“But on the internet you are exposed to rogue traders all over the world who are waiting to lure you in with tempting deals for products that are frankly dangerous.”