DIRE WARNING: Deadly chemical found hidden in popular beauty product

THE Australian Federal Police have today issued a dire warning to the public after a deadly chemical was found hidden in a popular beauty product used to remove fake eyelashes.

Gammabutyrolactone (GBL), commonly used to manufacture the dangerous drug known as ‘Fantasy’, has been found concealed within commercial beauty products imported from China.

GBL metabolises into the drug gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB) when in the body. It can cause sudden loss of consciousness, memory loss, respiratory difficulties, coma and even death.


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In the last month alone, four seizures – each containing five litres of the extremely dangerous chemical – was found in containers purporting to be gel which is used to remove makeup glue.

The AFP says the drug is being unwittingly purchased by the legitimate beauty industry, potentially putting the health of consumers at serious risk.

Police and border agencies say they are seriously concerned about the methods criminals are using to import the border controlled drug, also known as ‘coma in a bottle’.

AFP acting Assistant Commissioner Chris Sheehan today stressed if beauty salons or members of the public have any concerns or adverse reactions to any beauty product, they should seek immediate medical advice.

“The potential harm with using these misleading products, many of which are not labelled, is particularly high in products used for the removal of imitation eye lashes,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sheehan said.

“When ingested, this dangerous substance is capable of ruining lives in a single incident.

“This financial year (2016-17) 1,137 litres has been seized nationally, which includes a single shipment of more than one thousand litres, compared with 307 litres in 2015-16 and 435 litres during the 2014-15 financial year.”

“To those importing GBL, you should consider the potential and serious consequences of your actions, which could include prosecution for a serious criminal offence.”

The offence of importing a border controlled drug, namely GBL, carries a maximum penalty of life imprisonment, or a fine of $1,350,000 – or in some cases, both.

Acting ABF Commander Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Clinton Sims, said the Australian Border Force remains committed to disrupting the activities of people attempting to import this dangerous chemical.

“Our advanced border detection techniques are finding more concealments and ABF is proud of the work our officers do on the primary line to protect the community,” Acting Commander Sims said.

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