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ELK GROVE VILLAGE, Ill. -- Oranda Inc., a wholesale warehouse that distributes a variety of products to convenience stores, faces counterfeiting charges after police discovered fake batteries, shampoo and shoes in an Elk Grove Village, Ill. warehouse.
Police found more than 60,000 phony batteries, some of which contained mercury. The "AAA," "AA" and "D" batteries can be identified by flimsy packaging, light weight and poor printing, reported the Elk Grove Times.
Duracell representatives tested the batteries and found .49 percent mercury inside. Further investigation confirmed that the batteries could explode or leak, causing permanent damage to electronic devices. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, mercury is hazardous, even in small amounts, and people's nervous systems are susceptible to it in all forms.
Gillette spokesman Paul Fox told the newspaper that Duracell has not used mercury in batteries for more than a decade, and that real Duracell's would "outlast 13 of these fakes."
None of the batteries have been found in local convenience stores, the newspaper reported, but police do not know if they were distributed prior to the investigation, said Cook County Sherriff's Department spokeswoman Penny Mateck.
At another location, 600 Head and Shoulders shampoo bottles were found that contained numerous strains of gram-negative bacteria. The imitation shampoo containing the bacteria poses serious health risks, especially to immune compromised individuals.
Kitty Loewy, director of communications for the Cook County Department of Public Health, was unsure of the health risks because it depends on the user and the amount used, the Elk Groves Times reported.
Also found was 1,200 pairs of counterfeit Louis Vuitton shoes.
The owner of the distributor, Wei Yao, was arrested, indicted and charged with two felony counts of counterfeit trademarks, the newspaper reported.