29 August 2016

Consumers Urged to Heed FDA’s Health Warnings vs. Unnotified Cosmetics

 Unnotified Jiachuntang Ban Gan Jing Qu Ban Shuang skin whitening cream with high mercury content.
Some of the unnotified cosmetics banned last August 22, 2016 under FDA Advisory 2016-94.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a chemical safety and zero waste advocacy group, urged consumers to pay attention to the successive public health warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) against unregistered cosmetics that may pose potential health hazards.

In the months of July and August, the agency issued six advisories warning the public against the purchase and use of 60 products that lack cosmetic product notifications and whose quality and safety cannot be guaranteed by the FDA.

The EcoWaste Coalition provided the FDA with 20 of these non-compliant products, including Jiachuntang Ban Gan Jing Qu Ban Shuang, a skin whitening facial cream with high concentrations of mercury as screened by the group and subsequently confirmed by the FDA through laboratory analysis. 

Cosmetic products, prior to being placed into the local market, must be duly notified with the agency by a licensed cosmetic distributor and/or manufacturer, according to the FDA.

“We remind the public to reject personal care and cosmetic products that have not undergone quality and safety verification by the FDA as these can pose serious health risks to users and even non-users such as babies and young children,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.  

“Heed the FDA’s health warnings and save yourself from injury and harm.  It’s better to be safe than sorry,” he added.

The government has warned that “if a cosmetic product has not been verified by FDA as in the case of these unnotified products, the use of such products may pose potential health hazards to the consuming public.” 

“Potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product or from the contamination of heavy metals such as lead and mercury,” it explained. 

“The use of substandard and possibly adulterated cosmetic products may result to   reactions including but not limited to skin irritation, itchiness, anaphylactic shock and organ failure,” it added.

FDA Advisory 2016-105, issued on August 22, banned the following unnotified cosmetics:  Active Care Green Tea Deep Shine Baien Beautiful Inimitable (golden yellow), Bleaching Original Soap, Bremod Performance Spa Hair Color, Chanleevi Lipstick, Clarisse Feminine Cleansing Wash, Excel Paris Lip Gloss, Glutathione Original Soap, Lip Balm (red and yellow), Nyx Lip Smacking Fun Colors, Schwarzokdp Vision Charm Bewith, Skin Vibrant Natural Soap (collagen + whitening,  gluta + whitening and tea tree) and White Magnolia Treble Activating Skin Extract for Removing Dead Skin. 

FDA Advisory 2016-095, also issued on August 22, banned the following unnotified cosmetics: Meiya Hide the Blemish Concealer, Meiya Two Way Cake Powder (blue, light pink and dark pink), Meiya Pan Stick, Oseur O Mei Su Pearl Paste, Perfect Purity for Kids Gentle Bubble Bath, Perfect Purity Moisturizing Baby Oil, Personal Care Aloe Vera Skin Lotion and Yoko Acne-Melasma Cream CO Enzyme Q-10.

FDA Advisory 2016-094, also issued on August 22, banned the following unnotified cosmetics: A’s Skin Natural Beauty Lanolin Cream with Vitamin E, De Monto Lanolin Cream with Vitamin E & Collagen, Flowerone Elastic Whitening Tender Cream, Nacos Natural Australian Lanolin Cream with Vitamin E & Collagen, , Pearl Whiten Beautiful,  Queen Pientzehuang Pearl Cream, Ronglaiya Professional Pure Golden, RLY Homme Men’s Repairing Eke Water, Xinfunmanlingshuang Anti-Acne and Renewal Cream, Fengshangmei New Nail Kit, Miss Seven Cracking Nail Art Kit, Mei Ja Er Child Boutique Fake Nails Kit and Nail Glue WD.  

FDA Advisory 2016-093, also issued on August 22, banned Jiachuntang Ban Gan Jing Qu Ban Shuang, an unnotified cosmetic product found to contain toxic mercury level.

FDA Advisory 2016-076, issued on July 12, banned the following unnotified cosmetics: Delon Aloe Vera Skin Care Lotion, Delon Baby Lotion, Delon Silk and Satin Whipped Lotion, Keri Bath Botanicals Sensitive Skin and Shinzu’I Skin Lightening Body Lotion UV Protection Iseiya.  

FDA Advisory 2016-075, issued on July 11, banned the following unnotified cosmetics: Active Care Green Tea Deep Shine Baien Beautiful Inimitable (dark coffee, golden red and plum red), Bellespa Lip Gloss + Lip Liner Pencil, Chanleevi Mascara Fantastic Volume, Charm 3D Jialiqi Cosmetics Length Fiber Extensions Mascara, Jialiqi Art Class Liquid Eyeliner, Jialiqi Volume Mascara Ultra Resistance Luxurious Eye Make-Up Dense, Kangtian 60 Soft Cel Capsules (green, pink and yellow), Meiya Selection BB Cream Whitening + Sun Block SPF25 Vitamin E,  Nutrition Hair Oil (Fruits with Snake Oil), Tri & 1 Professional Hair Colour (H815 Coffee), Signature Collection Body Luxuries Enjoy Life Body Lotion and Signature Collection Body Luxuries Silk Glow Body Lotion.

The manufacture, importation, exportation, distribution, sale, offer for sale, transportation, promotion and/or advertisement of the above non-compliant products is in direct violation of R.A. 9711, the Food and Drug Administration Act.



28 August 2016

Watch Group Warns: Toxic Toy Ruler-Wrist Band Sold for P5 Outside Schools

A watch group for toxic chemicals today cautioned parents and students against buying a cheap toy commonly sold outside public elementary schools that contains high concentrations of lead, a hazardous substance.

The EcoWaste Coalition aired the warning after finding dangerous amount of lead in a toy ruler with Ninja Turtle characters.  The ruler also doubles as a wrist band and comes with a crayon eraser.  It is sold for P5 per packet.  The product provides no information about its manufacturer, importer or distributor.

The toy ruler-wrist band was found to contain 47,000 parts per million (ppm) of lead as per X-Ray Fluorescence screening conducted by the group.  No lead was detected on the crayon eraser.

“As a precaution against potential lead exposure, we advise parents not to allow their children to buy and use this toxic ruler that also functions as a wrist band,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

The product is made of a flexible metal sheet that is covered with a thin colored plastic wrapper with Ninja Turtle design.

Product examination shows that the metal sheet --- a recycled roll-up tape measure --- is coated with a yellow paint, which apparently contains lead above the regulatory restriction for lead in paint.

DENR Administrative Order 2013-24, also known  as the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds, sets a maximum allowable limit of 90 parts per million for total lead in paint.

The same regulation prohibits the use of lead in the production of toys as well as school supplies.

“Sooner or later, the plastic wrap will get torn with frequent use exposing the lead-coated metal strip,” Dizon warned.

“Lead can enter a child’s body through the ingestion or inhalation of lead-containing paint chip and dust,” he said.

According to the World Health Organization, “children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and, in some cases, irreversible neurological damage.”

The potential for adverse effects of lead exposure is greater for children than for adults, because in children 1) the intake of lead per unit body weight is higher, 2) more dust may be ingested, 3) lead absorption in the gastrointestinal tract is higher, 4) the blood–brain barrier is not yet fully developed and 5) neurological effects occur at lower levels than in adults, the WHO said.

Primary prevention, or the elimination of exposure to lead at its source, is the single most effective intervention against childhood lead poisoning,  the WHO further said.

Among other preventive measures, WHO has recommended the phase out the use of lead in paints on a worldwide basis, and the elimination of the use of lead in homes, schools, school materials and children’s toys.




26 August 2016

McDonald’s Voluntary Product Recall Gets Thumbs Up from Toxics Watch Group

EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group tracking toxic chemicals in products and wastes, lauded fast food giant McDonald’s Philippines for voluntarily recalling promotional back packs, sling bags and bag tags that contain lead, a hazardous substance.

The voluntary recall will be conducted starting today August 26 until October 24, 2016 by suppliers MZM Souvenirs and F Colors with McDonald’s full support and cooperation as announced by Golden Arches Development Corp., the master franchise holder of McDonald’s restaurants in the Philippines.  

The recall was the outcome of the EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical investigation showing lead in the accessible substrate material of the black back pack as it reported to McDonald’s Philippines and US last August 8.

Upon receipt of the group’s notification, McDonald’s immediately contacted the bag supplier, MZM Souvenirs, to halt production while also stopping the distribution of the said bags as giveaway items.

The group’s investigation also prompted the company to test other promotional products resulting to the subsequent expansion of the recall to include McDonald’s red sling bags and red bag tags supplied by F Colors. These items are no longer available in McDonald’s stores.

“McDonald’s made the right decision to promptly retrieve the lead-containing bags and tags as this is necessary for children’s health and well-being.  We commend them for the measures undertaken to notify the public and ensure the rapid retrieval of the recalled products for environmentally-sound disposal without incineration,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Margot Torres, Deputy Managing Director of McDonald’s Philippines, has thanked EcoWaste Coalition for approaching the company with its concerns. ”Nothing matters more to us than the safety of our customers. We have reinforced to our local supplier partners that there must be absolute adherence to the high standards of safety that we uphold at McDonald’s,” Torres said. “These recalled items have not met that standard.”

“We apologize for any inconvenience caused, and we strongly encourage our customers to immediately return the bags and bag tag, so we can have them replaced or refunded,” Torres added.

As per McDonald’s advisory, customers may opt to receive a new bag of a different material or ask for a refund upon return of the bags.  As for the bag tag, customers will receive a refund.  As a gesture of goodwill, all customers who return any of the bags and/or the bag tag will also receive a free food item and a birthday party discount coupon.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier alerted McDonald’s that the black back packs failed the maximum lead limit of 100 parts per million (ppm) for lead in accessible substrate materials as established by the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.

Department of Environment and Natural Resources Administrative Order 2013-24 (also known as the “Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds) also prohibits the use of lead in the production of toys and school supplies, among other things.

Last August 19, the EcoWaste Coalition and McDonald’s had a constructive meeting to discuss the group’s concerns and the recall strategy for the affected items.



For more information about lead, please see:


21 August 2016

LGUs Exhorted to Go After Stores Selling Cyanide-Containing Silver Jewelry Cleaners

 FDA-banned cyanide-containing silver cleaning products.
Banned Silver Sparkle Flat Silver Dip. 
 Store attendant prepares receipt for banned Unisilver Silver Dip.
 Unisilver Silver Dip comes free for every P500 worth of purchase in single receipt.
Totally unlabelled silver jewelry cleaner.
Partially labelled silver jewelry cleaner.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watch group, urged  mayors and local health and police chiefs to crack down on vendors of silver jewelry cleaners containing the deadly cyanide compound.

The group’s plea for action came on the heels of a recent public health warning from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) against three brands of cyanide-laden silver cleaning products.

The FDA on August 16 warned the public against buying, using and storing Silver Sparkle Flat Silver Dip, Unisilver Silver Dip and Cleanse Silver (Copper) Cleaner “as these pose imminent hazards and danger to both human and animal health” due their cyanide content.

“All local government units and law enforcement agencies are requested to ensure that the above-mentioned brands are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction,” the FDA Advisory 2016-088 said.

“We ask our local government, health and police officials to heed FDA’s request and promptly launch joint law enforcement operations to rid the marketplace of cyanide-laced silver cleaning solutions,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Any delay in responding to the FDA’s request will mean more consumers having access to this poison that had already fatally harmed many people, including innocent children who mistook the clear liquid for drinking water,” he added.

Yesterday, August 20, the  EcoWaste Coalition went to the same silver jewelry shops in a shopping mall in Quiapo, Manila where the FDA got the said silver cleaning products and managed to buy  Silver Sparkle Flat Silver Dip for P55 and Unisilver Silver Dip for P69.  The latter is even offered free of charge for every P500 worth of purchase in single receipt.

In addition, the group also bought a totally unlabelled silver cleaner for P60 from a beads and accessories store in Villalobos St.   It also obtained a partially labeled silver cleaner for P80 from a silver jewelry store in Carriedo St.

“We request Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada to go after the stores selling these highly toxic products and revoke their business permit outright to show that he means business when it comes to protecting the public health and safety from cyanide poisoning,” Dizon said. 

According to the FDA, “cyanide is classified as poisonous which can be rapidly absorbed by the body through inhalation, ingestion and dermal absorption.”

“It blocks utilization of oxygen in all organs and (is) liable to cause serious injury to human health that may lead to acute poisoning or death,” explained the FDA.

Responding to the rising number of cyanide poisoning cases due to the accidental as well as deliberate intake of silver cleaning products, the government issued Joint DOH-DENR Advisory 2010-0001 banning the sale of silver jewelry cleaners containing cyanide and other toxic substances.



19 August 2016

Environmental Groups Urge QC to Junk Multi-Billion Peso Incinerator Project

As the Quezon City Day is celebrated today, various environmental groups asked Mayor Herbert Bautista to drop a planned joint venture with a Japanese company for a “waste-to-energy “ (WtE) facility.

The groups also urged residents to raise their objections to the City Council through their elected councilors to thwart the plan that could turn QC into the “waste incineration capital” of Metro Manila.

As published in the Nikkei Asian Review last Tuesday, Hitachi Zosen will construct in Quezon City “a garbage incineration facility capable of processing the waste of three million residents with a power plant able to pump out more than 20,000 kW.”

The project’s estimated cost of around US$395 million (or P18.17 billion), including initial investment outlay and operational expenses for 20 years, will be regained through waste processing charges and electricity sales, according to the article.

“We urge the QC local government not to go for this costly waste incineration scheme, which the industry has re-branded, cashing in on of concerns over climate change, as a WtE facility.  There are far superior environmentally-sound, sustainable and cheaper solutions for managing discards that will not circumvent the ban on burning waste, while recovering resources, saving energy, creating jobs and instilling ecological values among businesses and households,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

These solutions are enshrined in Republic Act 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, which provides for waste avoidance and volume reduction through segregation at source, composting, recycling, reuse and other measures excluding incineration, she said.

“The construction of this incinerator might be even used to justify the continued dumping operations in Payatas since a landfill will still be required for the toxic ash resulting from the combustion of discards,” said Joey Papa, President of Bangon Kalikasan Movement, noting that some 30 tons of ash are produced for every 100 tons burned. “To be blunt about it, WtE is a technology Without Thinking of Everybody’s safety and public health at large,” he added.

“Incineration, euphemistically referred to as WtE technology, is not the answer to our need for energy.  It emits toxic dioxins and furans and burns resources, which can otherwise be recycled or composted.  It promotes the generation of waste because the combustion chamber must be constantly fed with waste.  It is the most expensive energy source according to some experts,” said Dr. Angelina Galang, President, Green Convergence for Safe Food, Healthy Environment and Sustainable Economy.

“We stand by our position that 'waste-to-energy' and 'integrated waste management systems' are just fancy names for incinerators, and not at all clean, renewable or healthy. Incinerators go against the principle of sustainability. Their toxic emissions can never be controlled once released to the environment, therefore lethal to humans and damaging to the ecology,” said Abigail Aguiilar, Detox Campaigner, Greenpeace Southeast Asia.

The P18.17 billion that will be needed to build and operate the incinerator should be used instead to improve and expand QC’s existing waste prevention and reduction programs, including ensuring the proper closure and rehabilitation of the Payatas dumpsite, the groups insisted.

“For example, 11,647 barangay waste workers will be paid a minimum salary of 12,000 per month for 10 years, plus the annual 13th month pay, to collect segregated wastes from households, sell recyclables to junkshops and compost the organics. This in turn would allow Quezon City to achieve at least 70 percent waste diversion or more,” said Froilan Grate, Asia-Pacific Coordinator, Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives.

To illustrate the other alternative uses for the colossal amount of P18.17 billion to be spent for the QC incinerator, the groups have come up with the following calculations: 

1. 1,817,000 whole-day training activities on ecological solid waste management involving 90,850,000 people at P10,000/50-person activity covering meals, hand-outs, speakers’ honoraria and other basic incidental expenses.

2.  1,817,000 to 3,634,000 Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) at P5,000 – P10,000/facility for rural barangays, and 36,340 to 363,400 MRFs at P50,000 – 500,000/facility for urban barangays;  MRFs serve as depositories for segregated discards that can be reused, recycled or composted to minimize the volume of trash sent to a residual waste landfill.

3.  40,378 biodegradables shredder (7 Hp, 1.5 tons/hour) costing P450,000/machine to cut up garden or farm waste and other organics into small pieces to speed up the composting process.

4.  5,191,429 generic sewing machines at P3,500/unit that community women can use to make reusable bags from fabrics, doy packs, flour and rice sacks and other materials.

5.  2,795,385 pedicabs at P6,500/unit or 5,191,428 wooden carts at P3,500 /cart that itinerant waste recyclers can use for “bote-dyaryo” business.

6.  121,133 junk shops that will ideally need a start-up capital of P150,000.

7.  3,634,000 low-interest loans at P5,000/person that will enable waste pickers to venture into micro-enterprises to augment their incomes.