Illegal skin lightening creams have been seized by the UK Border Force at Gatwick Airport, amounting to a quarter of a tonne, which arrived from a flight from Cameroon.
The West Sussex Trading Standards officers sent the products for safety testing, with results showing that three items contained the carcinogenic substance, hydroquinone.
Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “This is the second seizure of illegal skin lightening creams from Cameroon which may suggest an increase in importation of these products from the country into the UK.
“We are actively engaged in border controls which includes identifying consignments for importers who have previously imported unsafe or non-compliant goods before.”
All products seized were labelled incorrectly and are illegal in the UK.
Deborah Urquhart, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, said: “These cosmetics have the potential to be very harmful. Hydroquinone is banned in all cosmetics sold to consumers in the UK because of its links to causing cancer and it is therefore vitally important that we stop illegal products containing this substance from entering the country.”