It’s risky to buy consumer products, cosmetics online – warns Health Canada

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Health Canada is informing consumers of potential risks from buying products online. In recent years, an increasing number of consumer products and cosmetics from around the world have become available for purchase online, but not all of them meet Canadian laws and regulations. Consumers should be aware that some products found online could be prohibited in Canada, or may have been recalled from the Canadian market for failing to meet health or safety requirements. There is also a risk that products and cosmetics purchased online are counterfeit, or not as advertised.

What you should do

For the protection of health and safety, it is important that consumers make informed decisions about any consumer products or cosmetics they purchase online.  Consumers can take the following steps to protect themselves before purchasing products online:

  • Check the Recalls and Safety Alerts Database for information about products that have been recalled. Consumer products, including children’s toys, can be recalled for health and safety reasons.
  • Check the Canada Border Services Agency website to find out about what you can and cannot have shipped into the country.
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Before using any product or cosmetic, consumers should read and follow age recommendations, warnings, safety messages and instructions.

What Health Canada is doing

In Canada, consumer products are regulated by the Canada Consumer Product Safety Act and cosmetics are regulated under the Food and Drugs Act. Both laws include prohibitions on the sale of products that may pose a risk to health. These allow Health Canada to quickly respond to any health concerns and work with industry to remove unsafe products from the market.

Health Canada is working with international partners to review and assess the risks associated with the online market. Recently, Health Canada participated in an initiative of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to conduct a review of prohibited products available online and the Department plans to conduct a follow-up survey of online retailers in early 2017. Health Canada will continue to work with its OECD partners on initiatives to improve awareness of possible safety risks associated with online shopping.

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Health Canada regularly tests consumer products and cosmetics on the Canadian market and will continue to monitor new and emerging product safety issues to help keep consumers safe. The Department also works in collaboration with the Canada Border Services Agency to prevent the import of prohibited and dangerous products into Canada. – CNW

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