Sunday, September 5, 2010

EcoWaste Coalition's AlerToxic Patrol finds banned toxic cosmetics in Baclaran

The illegal sale of imported skin whitening
products previously recalled by the government for containing elevated
amounts of mercury, a highly toxic chemical, has not ceased.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxic watchdog, made this conclusion after
being able to buy seven of the forbidden cosmetics at various shops
inside the Baclaran Terminal Plaza Mall in Pasay City.

“Several months have already passed since these mercury-laced skin
lightening products were banned for posing imminent danger or injury
to consumers and we can still purchase them like ordinary personal
care products,” an exasperated Aileen Lucero, project staff of the
EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT, said.

“We urge consumers to seek out mercury-free cosmetics to safeguard
their own health, and we beg the government to intensify their action
against recalcitrant vendors,” she added.

Last Sunday, September 5, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol
bought samples of the proscribed items in three beauty product shops
(located in Pasilio B-55, C-39, D-04) and one Chinese drug store
(Pasilio K) in the popular shopping center adjacent to the Light Rail
Transit (LRT) terminal in Baclaran.

This is the fifth time this year that the AlerToxic Patrol combed
shops in Metro Manila to check business compliance to government
directives banning mercury-tainted skin whitening creams and lotions.

Among the banned products still on sale in Baclaran include Gemli
Glutathione Grapeseed Extract Whitening and Anti-Aging Cream, Jiaoli
Huichusu Whitening Speckles Remover Cream, Jiaoli Miraculous Cream,
Jiao Yan Specific Miraculous Cream, JJJ Magic Spots Removing Cream,
S’Zitang 10-day Whitening and Spot Day/Night Set, and Yinni Green Tea
Quick Acting Whitener and Speckle Remover Package.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued three Circulars this
year banning various skin lightening products, mostly imported from
China, for containing excessive levels of mercury in direct violation
of R.A. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009.

In response to the EcoWaste Coalition’s market surveillance last July,
FDA Director Nazarita Tacandong told the group in her letter dated
August 27, 2010 that “as part of quality check, we conduct regular
monitoring of cosmetic products in the market and recently we have
confiscated banned products as cited in our Circulars 2010-002,
2010-004 and 2010-011.”

“Other suspicious cosmetics products have been collected for
laboratory analysis to check for the presence of heavy metals in
accordance to the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN)
Cosmetic Directive,” she added.

Mercury use in cosmetics products, according to the United Nations
Environment Programme (UNEP), can have adverse effects including skin
rashes, discoloring and scarring and can reduce skin’s resistance to
bacterial and mycotic skin disorders.

The UNEP publication “Mercury in Products and Wastes” also warned that
direct and prolonged exposure through the skin during repeated
applications can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and

The safest protection, UNEP advised, is not to use such products.

If you do use skin lightening products, only use those with labels
that you understand and that do not contain mercury or mercury
compounds, UNEP further said.


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