Hundreds of packets of skin lightening cream have been recalled after they were discovered to contain mercury.
Bucks Trading Standards issued a warning about the dangers of using the creams after almost 600 packets from small shops in Aylesbury, Chesham and High Wycombe were discovered with 17 of 24 samples containing high levels of mercury.
Trading Standards team leader Gina Green said creams containing the element could seriously damage kidneys, skin and the nervous system.
She said: “These amounts are extremely high and potentially very dangerous.”
The creams are believed to have been made in Thailand and Pakistan, but the creams did broke labelling regulations by not displaying where they were imported from.
Officers are investigating how they got into the country.
The team leader added: “We are asking shop owners to stop supplying any skin lightening cream that does not have the name and address of an importer or manufacturer in the European Union.
“Shop owners are unaware of the dangers of such cosmetics. Most of them say they are selling the products in response to requests for them.”
Cabinet member for community engagement Martin Phillips said: “My concern is about the long-term effects on people who may not be aware that these creams may be harmful if they’re used over time.”
Seized creams that contained mercury include:
Brite Face Cream
Stillmans Skin Bleach Cream
Stillmans Freckle Cream
Due Whitening Cream
Wiana Whitening Cream