People are being warned about fake cosmetics after “toxic” chemicals such as mercury were found in seized goods. Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit beauty products had been uncovered by councils, the Local Government Association said.

It said the products could “pose serious health risks”, as well as defrauding consumers and businesses. Some of the products being sold included counterfeit versions of well-known brands MAC, Chanel and Benefit. The LGA said some of the chemicals found in these copycat products could cause chemical burns and skin rashes.

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