The Financial Express


Busting factories of spurious cosmetics

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Those who go to salons and beauty parlours for facial, hairdo or coiffure, spa etcetera may have reasons to be highly concerned. An intelligence agency of the country has busted an unlicensed factory that has long been clandestinely producing and supplying cosmetics and toiletries under reputed brands to parlours. Located in Keraniganj, an area known for both entrepreneurship and industrial malpractices, this is not the first such illegal factory there. What has been most surprising is the existence of such a factory in a village under Duirgapur upazila of Rajshahi.

 In both cases, quite a few of those involved in manufacture of the spurious cosmetics were arrested. The law enforcers are now after the mastermind of the Keraniganj factory. In Durgapur two brothers engaged in the disreputable trade have been arrested.

These cosmetics and toiletries are priced, the law enforcement agency revealed, between Tk 50 and 100. Chemicals used for production of the fake items used for personal care and grooming are extremely dangerous for skin, hair, health and hygiene.    

Customers who visit salons and beauty parlours are not at all aware of the products with which they are treated. They confide in the sincerity and honesty of the operators of parlours. It is clear from the intelligence agency's disclosure that parlours or salons which collect those products do so knowing full well that those are spurious.

So busting such illegal factories alone will not do, there is a need for getting from the arrested elements the information of the parlours to which they used to supply their products. The famed brands are pricey and when someone offers a look-alike at an atrociously low price, parlour operators' primary duty is to inform the police and help stop the nefarious business. Instead, they become a party to the crime by procuring those harmful products. They do so in order to maximise their profit at the expense of business ethics and clients' trust.

 Those who manage parlours, in particular, are quite aware of the tastes and mental make-up of their clients who generally belong to the above average class of society. They feel no qualm about breaching their clients' confidence in them. In fact, their crime is graver. If the manufacturers do not find customers for their spurious products, they cannot continue their production.  

Manufacture of spurious cosmetics products and passing them under branded companies have long been an open secret. Raids are also carried out to unearth the unlicensed factories and arrests are made from time to time. But such factories cannot be done away with. Either their existence is ubiquitous or the members of the gang who can avoid arrest start new factories or even those arrested come out of prison after their short sentence terms to resume their trade.

So the argument for conducting raids against the illegal manufacturing facilities as well as bringing under scrutiny the destinations like salons, parlours, spa centres is very strong. Unsuspecting customers may be victims if they are duped by cosmetics shops in shopping malls engaged in the unethical trade. But if the ones habituated to using those brands are asked a price even half the going rate, they will know those are fake products.

So there is yet another reason why the salons, parlours and spa centres have to be screened. People must know which parlours do not compromise on quality of products they use for personal care and grooming of their clients. No client will like to be exposed to danger of skin cancer and other kinds of diseases the hazardous agents in spurious cosmetics and toiletries cause. Safety of the customers' personal hygiene ought to be given the priority. Both sources and destinations of such spurious products have to be plugged.      


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