Clubbers can buy 'flashing lashes' despite health risk
Battery-operated LED eyelashes that flash in various colours have emerged as the latest clubber-inspired fad in recent weeks but officials have decided they can still be sold in Thailand despite growing health concerns including the risk of cataracts.
Ignoring warnings from a leading Mahidol University ophthalmologist, among others, authorities said this week they can be sold legally as a fashion accessory if they carry accurate instructions for use in line with the Consumer Protection Act.
Deputy police spokesman Kritsana Pattanacharoen said yesterday the fake lashes, which use thin wires and can be glued to the lids in a matter of minutes, have not been prohibited by the Office of the Consumer Protection Board (OCPB).
Importers and distributors are within the bounds of the law as long as the products carry the correct labels and instructions as required by Sections 30 and 31 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1979, he said.
The lashes are lightweight but require the use of a controller that can be attached to the back of the head. At least some versions offer different flashing settings such as scroll, dance and sparkle, reports claim.
But Assoc Prof Narit Kitnarong, an ophthalmologist at the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, recently told Thai News Agency the lashes can accelerate the development of wrinkles around the eyes and cause frequent blinking due to heat from the LED lights.
Regular use may even cause blepharoptosis, or drooping upper eyelids, due to the weight of the accessory, he said. The condition requires surgery. The ultraviolet radiation they emit may also cause other abnormalities.
Pol Col Kritsana said those who violate the Consumer Protection Act could face a jail term of up to six months, a fine of up to 50,000 baht or both.
If the LED eyelashes are prohibited in Thailand under Section 36 by the OCPB -- a possibility given the potential health risk -- retailers could be jailed for up to five years, face a fine of up to 500,000 baht, or both, he said.
The product does not fall under the control of the Thai Industrial Standards Institute (Tisi) as it had been identified as a fashion item, he added.
According to the Industrial Products Standards Act of 1968, light bulbs and lighting equipment require Tisi labels, Pol Col Kritsana said.