Ministry of Health bans sale of cosmetic product with mercury

National 1 minute, 36 seconds


ANOTHER cosmetic product sold in Brunei has been found to contain an undeclared and prohibited ingredient that has potentially harmful side effects. 

The Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday warned the public not to use Mekar Semilu Pearl Cream, a cosmetic that has been adulterated with mercury.

A sample was collected in a post-marketing surveillance operation conducted by the Pharmacy Enforcement Section at the Mail Processing Centre.

Mercury is banned in cosmetics under the Medicines (Cosmetic Products) Regulations 2007 because of its adverse effects on health.

On topical application, mercury is readily absorbed through the skin and accumulates in the body.

Slight exposure to mercury can cause skin rashes, memory loss and muscle weakness, while high exposure can result in damage to the brain and kidneys. It is also extremely toxic to unborn babies.

The ministry has never approved the import of Mekar Semilu Pearl Cream or granted it a Cosmetic Notification Acknowledgement Letter.

The public is reminded that it is an offence to be involved in the retail of a banned product, including online retail via social media networks such as Facebook.

Those found guilty of importing and marketing cosmetics without a Cosmetic Notification Acknowledgement Letter are subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 and imprisonment for up to two years.

A press statement said the distributor for Mekar Semilu Pearl Cream is Mekar Semilu Beauty Collection, Malaysia.

The ministry also called on the public to contact the Pharmacy Enforcement Section if they see banned cosmetics on sale in the Sultanate. Further enquiries can be made by phoning 2230036 or emailing

Alternatively, the public can visit the Pharmacy Enforcement Section at Block 2G8:04, Level 8, Ong Sum Ping Condominium in the capital.

Last week, the Ministry of Health issued warnings against Professional Skin Care Formula-Bleaching Cream 4-in-1 and Professional Skin Care Formula-Medicated Astringent. The products contain a potent undeclared ingredient known as hydroquinone. — Rabiatul Kamit

The Brunei Times