Council warning after teenager burned

Serious burns from nail glue bought online
Chloe Gallagher, 15, was seriously burned after accidentally dropping nail glue onto her leg.
Published: Tuesday, 11th June 2019

Warrington’s Trading Standards team is issuing a warning to online shoppers after a 15 year old girl received chemical burns from nail glue purchased online.

Warrington mum, Sarah Gallagher bought her daughter, Chloe, a nail art kit for £21 online as a gift. While using the kit, Chloe accidentally spilled the nail glue on her legs. The glue immediately burned through her pyjamas and onto her skin. Chloe acted quickly to wash the glue off, but her skin was already chemically burned.

She was referred to Alder Hey Hospital, where she was treated for second or third degree burns. Since the incident, Chloe has been in a lot of pain and has travelled with her mum to Alder Hey Hospital multiple times to have her dressings changed.

Sarah Gallagher reported the item to Warrington Trading Standards, where officers discovered the seller was based in Hong Kong and the nail glue was manufactured in China.

Product safety in the UK is governed by EU and UK laws. Although goods sold into the UK should comply with these laws, consumers face the risk that goods they import directly themselves from outside the EU might not have been through the necessary safety checks.

Cabinet member for environment and public protection, Cllr Judith Guthrie said: “We strongly advise people to be wary of buying products that don’t appear to comply with EU/UK regulations.

“It’s really important that people stay safe when shopping online and find out as much as possible about what they are purchasing.

“On this occasion, our officers acted swiftly to get the product removed from the website. Unfortunately, as the seller and manufacturer are outside of Europe, we were not able to take enforcement action in this case.”

When buying products online outside of the UK and EU, think before you buy. Check factors such as ingredients lists, reviews left on the seller’s site and on Google. Look for warnings about how to use the product safely, including any ‘best before’ or ‘use within x days of opening’ or equivalent information. Price can also be an indicator of a safe product - everyone loves a bargain, but no one wants to risk an injury.

For general consumer advice, contact Citizen’s Advice Consumer Advice service on 03454 04 05 06.

Visit Warrington’s Trading Standard’s page or email


Top tips to help keep you safe when shopping online

  • Manufacturer - Look for a manufacturer's address on the product or instructions.
  • Seller - Is the seller contactable by phone and do they give a full trading address? What is their returns policy? Reputable distributors will have this information readily available - if not, be suspicious.
  • Brand name - If the product is unbranded or is a brand that you don’t recognise then do an internet search for the manufacturer. If there is no English language website for the manufacturer with full contact information, be suspicious.
  • Labelling - Look for an ingredients list, in decreasing order of weight of the ingredients. This is mainly intended for people with allergies. The same ingredient names are used across the European Union and most countries worldwide so people are easily able to identify them.
  • Net contents -  should be listed.
  • Warnings - Look for warnings about how to use the product safely.  A “date of minimum durability” "best used before the end of” or a “period after opening” to show for how long the product may be kept or used.
  • Description – A summary of what the product is if it’s not obvious from its appearance.
  • A batch number - For product identification.  
  • Country of origin - For products imported into the EU.
  • Price - A product that is selling significantly below the market average should set alarm bells ringing.