Beware of hazards among the online bargains this Black Friday
26 November 2020
Lurking online this Christmas shopping season are lots of products containing chemicals that can pose a risk if they don’t meet New Zealand’s strict safety standards.
The Environmental Protection Authority’s Safer Homes programme has some tips and tricks to keep in mind as you’re bargain-hunting this Black Friday.
“Cosmetics and toiletries, such as perfume and makeup, can pose the most risk for unsuspecting shoppers,” says the Safer Homes programme manager, Lizzie Wilson.
“When you’re buying beauty products stick to legitimate brands, rather than copies, especially online. They may contain toxic ingredients or cause unexpected skin reactions.”
When you’re online it can be hard to know if a product is fake, if it’s been tampered with, or whether it has been stored correctly. If it’s a fraction of the usual cost, be wary.
Children’s art supplies like finger paints, crayons, and watercolour paints are also products that online shoppers should be careful about. These products have labels which aren’t always obvious online and can contain ingredients that may be harmful.
In the past two years, 200 New Zealand children aged under 15 have ended up in hospital after being harmed by a hazardous substance. This includes products labelled natural or environmentally friendly, which can still be hazardous.
“We all like the convenience of online shopping, but it’s important to take a close look before you click purchase, to avoid buyer’s remorse this Christmas shopping season.”
When shopping online remember:
- Buy products from retailers and brands you know and trust.
- If you are in any doubt about the safety of a product, don't buy or use it.
- If the label isn't in English, doesn't list the ingredients, batch code and NZ importer and manufacturer contact details, the product isn't compliant with the safety rules.
And when your purchases arrive:
- Keep cosmetics and other hazardous substances out of reach of small children. Even if the product states it’s non-toxic or natural it could be dangerous if swallowed or applied.
- If you have an allergic or other reaction to a product, stop using it immediately. If the reaction is severe, get medical help.
- It's also a good idea to patch test products to find out whether a product is likely to irritate your skin or cause an allergic reaction if it is applied to a larger area.