A Department investigation discovered some retailers were stocking the toxic topical paste as termite repellent, but promoting its benefits for burning away skin cancers.
WA chief health officer Tarun Weeramanthri warned potential buyers it contained potent substances controlled under WA’s poison laws.
‘If used without medical guidance, they can be extremely dangerous,’ he said.
‘The chemicals are highly corrosive, and can essentially burn off layers of the skin and underlying tissue, leading to severe scarring.’
Dr Weeramanthri said the claims for Black Salve, or Cansema as it is also known, had been around for decades, despite the product being condemned by the Therapeutic Goods Administration.
He labelled the product ‘dangerous quackery’.