Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Greens want toxic skin whiteners banned

Alarmed at the number of skin whitening products
with a high mercury content, environmental groups on Friday urged
authorities to implement a stricter screening for new cosmetics
entering the market.

Citing data from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), the EcoWaste
Coalition said some 28 skin lightening products were recalled from
January to September 2010 due to their high mercury content.

Two of the recently recalled skin whitening products were found to
have 1,000 and 3,000 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, way beyond
the FDA’s “allowable threshold” of 1 ppm, the organization said.

“We find it alarming that dozens of skin whitening products have been
recalled this year because they contain elevated levels of mercury, a
toxic metal,” said Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, secretary of
EcoWaste Coalition.

Mercury use illegal

The use of mercury in cosmetics is illegal in the United States and Europe.

Studies have shown that overexposure to the chemical can lead to
mercury poisoning which causes skin discoloration and other problems.
It can also affect sensory functions and vital organs, depending on
the amount of exposure to mercury.

To mark Consumer Safety Month this October, EcoWaste Coalition is
urging the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and
Industry to convene a “Safe Cosmetics Summit” to stop the marketing of
personal care products containing toxic chemicals such as mercury.

Government agencies should require manufacturers and distributors to
disclose all chemical ingredients in their products, the group
stressed, noting that the public has the right to know what they are

Remove toxic chemicals

The FDA should also revise the mercury limit in cosmetics from 1 parts
per million to zero.

Moreover, the government should order companies to remove toxic
chemicals and substances known as probable human carcinogens,
reproductive toxins, and endocrine disruptors from personal care

“A summit involving all stakeholders is essential to facilitate a
broad consensus on specific policies and measures that should be
pursued to promote and guarantee consumer health and safety from
harmful chemicals in personal care products,”


Post a Comment