Environmental Group Dismayed Over Continued Sale of Toxic Cosmetic Products in QC

Environmental Group Dismayed Over Continued Sale of Toxic Cosmetic Products in QC

Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics is urging the Quezon City government, particularly the Quezon City Health Department (QCHD), to take regulatory action against the unwarranted sale of mercury-added skin whitening creams to protect public health from mercury exposure.

In its recent market monitoring, the group purchased and photo documented the sale of FDA-banned cosmetics, namely: Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene Avocado & Aloe vera, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream Oil Free Total Fairness System, and 88 Total White Underarm Cream in beauty shops (kiosks) inside Ever Gotesco Mall in Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City. These products have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Quezon City enacted QC Ordinance 2767, s 2018, which bans the manufacture, distribution, and sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in Quezon City.

“We call the attention of beauty shop owners to abide by the existing regulation in the country, and specifically in Quezon City, regarding the prohibited skin whitening products that have been proven to contain mercury, a health-damaging toxic chemical,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner of BAN Toxics.

Using a Vanta C Series HH XRF Analyzer, the group screened the products and found mercury concentrations ranging from 5,633 to as high as 29,250 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the allowable limit of 1 ppm set by the FDA, as published in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

According to the ordinance, all manufacturers, importers, distributors, wholesalers, and retailers, including street vendors, or “tiangge,” and online vendors in Quezon City, must cease and desist from engaging in business activities involving the production and/or trade of mercury-laden cosmetics.

Mercury is among the World Health Organization’s top ten chemicals of major public health concern. It lightens the skin by suppressing the production of melanin and can also remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. However, its use can lead to rashes, skin discoloration, and blotching. Mercury can enter the body through absorption, inhalation, or ingestion.

The group wrote to the QCHD requesting urgent enforcement action and confiscation of the prohibited beauty products to halt the illegal sale of non-compliant cosmetic products.

BAN Toxics reiterates its call to national regulatory agencies to improve monitoring, analysis, and detection capacities to strictly regulate the illegal trade of banned cosmetics. Strengthening regional cooperation, given the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, is of the same importance, according to the group.

“BAN Toxics, advocating for safe cosmetics, will continue to monitor and swiftly report to corresponding local government offices and the FDA the unwarranted selling of prohibited cosmetic products in the market, including online shopping platforms. The public has the right to know the dangers of toxic mercury and to be mindful of its health effects,” Dizon added. # (PR)