Front Page of the Day

Bawang shampoo and its cancer-causing chemical

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Modern Express, July 15, 2010

A series of shampoos are manufactured by the Bawang famous brand (霸王驰名商标), and they all claim to use Chinese herbal remedies for special effects - e.g. its signature brand, endorsed by Jackie Chan, turns hair a 'naturally' black and sleek.

The Xinhua-run Modern Express today goes with a sensational, eyeball-grabbing front page. Jackie Chan is depicted, cartoon-style, holding a bottle of Bawang shampoo that he has endorsed for many years. Faye Wong poses next to him. What's wrong with the shampoo? It contains dioxane (二恶烷), a cancer causing agent, which here is a black ghost with the characters '二恶烷' etched on its body.

The 'scandal,' which could turn into the next 'endorsement gate or lawsuit,' was exposed by Hong Kong's One Weekly (壹周刊) yesterday and a media-fueled campaign has gone under. The campaign is checking whether the brand is still sold in shops (yes); whether some of the product endorsers, such as Faye Wong, had heard the news (no, she hadn't).

Other celebrities who endorse the mega-brand include Donnie Yen (甄子丹), who's the face for its 1928 Herbal Tea. The scandal could have legal implications for the celebrities who endorse the products because of a law passed last year making them responsible for the product that they're endorsing.

For Jackie, though, it's not the best, there is already an online meme for this, and it goes,

Ad killer Jackie Chan's excellent report card: Endorse Subor (小霸王), Sudor goes out of business; endorse Aiduo VCD player (爱多VCD), the CEO goes to jail; endorse Fenhuang cola (汾湟可乐), Fenhuang cola disappears; endorse Caddy cars (开迪汽车), Caddy cars only sell 900 around the country; endorse Bawang shampoo (霸王洗发水), its exposed to contain a cancer-causing agent. Today, have you had your product endorsed by Jackie Chan?

Bawang responded to say that it wasn't harmful in small doses, and that the chemical is found in cleaning and shampoo products across the world.

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