In Cambodia, a whitening cream caused a woman's death. The Cambodian Health Ministry said the product’s label did not include a complete list of ingredients.

The Health Ministry has banned the import and sale of a Vietnamese skin-whitening cream that caused the death of a 23-year-old woman in Banteay Meanchey province last month, officials said Monday.

A cream identified as part of a line of products from Vietnamese brand “Kem Lot Lanh Thom Cao Cap” was responsible for the death of Chhuon Sovann in early March. The product’s labelling does not include a complete list of ingredients, according to a Health Ministry statement released late last week.

Heng Bun Keat, director of the Ministry’s Food and Drug Department, said Monday that customers will be warned and the product removed from shops. “The Health Ministry requires all provincial health departments to broadcast widely through the media,” he said. “They also have to collect this product from beauty centres.”

Yim Yann, president of the Pharmacists’ Association of Cambodia, praised the move Monday, saying that the Health Ministry has not monitored the import and sale of dangerous beauty products closely enough in the past.

“If importing this kind of whitening cream was illegal, no one would have died,” he said.

Extracts from a Phnom Penh Post article by Khuon Leakhana and Mom Kunthear (original *dead link*). Published 13 April 2010.