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Over a tonne of dangerous skin lightening creams seized at Gatwick Airport

More than a tonne of potentially carcinogenic cosmetics, including skin lightening creams, were seized at Gatwick Airport.

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West Sussex Trading Standards officers came to inspect the products after they were alerted by Border Force.

Officers noticed many of these brands had previously been found to contain hydroquinone – a banned substance linked to causing cancer.

Ten products were sent for safety testing and all failed. Eight contained hydroquinone and two were incorrectly labelled.

An investigation is taking place into the importer.

The products arrived into Gatwick Airport on 15 May 2019.

Peter Aston, Trading Standards Team Manager, said:

“Skin lightening creams containing hydroquinone that haven’t been prescribed by a doctor are banned in the UK, as they can cause serious side effects if used incorrectly. 

“Although some of the products detained listed hydroquinone as an ingredient, most did not and we must remind those using these types of products to only buy from reputable sources.”

Debbie Kennard, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member, said:

“These products are very dangerous and have been linked to causing cancer and other skin diseases. I would like to thank our Trading Standards team for helping to put a stop to this unscrupulous trade.”

If you have been supplied with a skin lightening cream that lists hydroquinone as an ingredient, you can let Trading Standards know by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 0405060 or by visiting www.westsussex.gov.uk/tsreport.

Gatwick

Gatwick trials boarding aircraft by window seats first

London Gatwick is trialling a new boarding technique in a bid to avoid queues and congestion at gates.

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During the two-month trial, large digital screens and staff will be placed at Gate 101 to show passengers the order to board.  A range of sequences will be trialled to test whether they make the process faster, more relaxing and, potentially, reduce the need for large numbers of passengers to rush forward at any stage.

Possible sequences include seating people from the back row to the front with window seats first, middle seats next and aisle seats last.

Passengers who have booked priority boarding – or those who require special assistance or are travelling with young families – will still board first during the trial.

Modelling indicates that these techniques may be able to reduce boarding times by up to 10%, compared to conventional methods.

Learnings from the trial, as well as feedback from passengers, will be used to decide whether to take this concept forward or not.

Abhi Chacko, Head of Enabling Technologies and Digital Innovation, Gatwick Airport said:

“We want to explore whether boarding by seat number will avoid queues in the gate room and when boarding the aircraft.

“Early indications are that this new technique has the potential to reduce the overall boarding time.  By communicating to passengers better and boarding passengers by seat number, we also expect to make the whole boarding experience more relaxing and, potentially, prevent large numbers of passenger rushing forward at any stage.”

London Gatwick and VINCI Airports have been early technology innovators for many years. The use of technology to improve operations leads to further ongoing success, particularly true given London Gatwick’s role as a gateway, and as its traffic volumes are predicted to continue to rise.  Following its acquisition earlier this year, London Gatwick has become one of three VINCI Airports Innovation Centres of Excellence.  

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