The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has again exposed the continued sale of banned mercury-contaminated skin whitening cosmetics in the City of Manila.
Based on the ocular monitoring it conducted yesterday, the group found some cosmetic vendors in Quiapo and Santa Cruz selling dangerous products that have long been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for containing mercury and/or for lacking market authorization.
Among the mercury-contaminated and unauthorized products being sold at Good Earth Plaza, Manila City Plaza, QQ Mall and Victory Lacson Underpass are Collagen Plus Vit E, Feique, Goree and S’Zitang facial creams. Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream is also available at Quiapo Muslim Town.
“We deplore the continued sale of these poisonous cosmetics claiming to lighten the skin color and treat various skin disorders,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “We call upon the Manila Health Department to sustain their operations against this illegal trade to protect consumers and the environment from the detrimental effects of using mercury-containing cosmetics.”
“Manila City’s action will help enforce the 2020 phase-out deadline for such mercury-added cosmetics under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which our government has duly signed and ratified,” she emphasized.
The FDA through Advisory No. 2021-0646 advised the public not to purchase and use “unauthorized” Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream, warning “the use of such a violative product may pose health risk to consumers.”
According to the FDA, “potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product or from the contamination of heavy metals.”
The FDA had also warned against the consumption of Feique, Goree and S’Zitang skin whitening cosmetics for containing mercury above the maximum limit of one part per million (ppm), the limit set under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, as well as the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The ban on various S’Zitang products is covered by FDA Advisory Nos. 2018-183, 2017-157, 2015-025, 2011-012 and 2010-011, while the ban on Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Anti-Freckle Set and the two types of Goree beauty cream is covered by Advisory No. 2013-053-A and Advisory No. 2017-289, respectively.
In banning Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream, the FDA warned that “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring,” adding “chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”
Among the other side effects of using such mercury-laden products include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy, according to the FDA, warning further that “the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life.”
To prevent mercury exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition is urging the public to shun chemical skin whiteners such as those containing mercury and hydroquinone, and to accept our inherent skin color, stressing that “natural is beautiful.”