Sunday, September 12, 2010

Group: banned skin whitening products still sold in Baclaran

Group: banned skin whitening products still sold in Baclaran
At least seven skin whitening products banned for containing high
levels of mercury are still being sold in a mall in the Baclaran area
in southern Metro Manila.

Environmental watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition said its members
managed to buy at least seven samples of the banned cosmetics there
last week.

“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," Aileen Lucero, project staff of EcoWaste's Project
PROTECT, said on the group's blog site.

Lucero voiced frustration over government’s failure to enforce the ban
issued earlier this year by the Food and Drug Administration.

“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.

The outlawed cosmetics the group managed to buy in three beauty
product shops (Pasilio B-55, C-39, D-04) and one Chinese drug store
(Pasilio K) in the Baclaran Terminal Plaza Mall near the Light Rail
Transit (LRT) terminal in Baclaran were:
•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.

EcoWaste said it was the fifth time its members combed through shops
in Metro Manila to check compliance with the government ban on
mercury-tainted skin whitening creams and lotions.

The 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.

On the other hand, EcoWaste cited a letter from FDA Director Nazarita
Tacandong in an Aug. 27 letter that the agency conducts regular

“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,"
it quoted Tacandong as saying in the letter.

“Other suspicious cosmetics products have been collected for
laboratory analysis to check for the presence of heavy metals in
accordance to the 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.

EcoWaste cited the UNEP publication “Mercury in Products and Wastes"
that warned that direct and prolonged exposure through the skin during
repeated applications can cause damage to the brain, nervous system
and kidneys.

Those who use skin lightening products should use only those with
labels that you understand and that do not contain mercury or mercury
compounds, UNEP added.


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