17 July 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Warns Anew vs. Wet Wipes that May Trigger Skin Allergy Among Babies

Baby wipes containing MCI/MIT, which are banned in leave-on cosmetics, including wet wipes
Baby wipes lacking the required product notifications that were purchased from retailers in Pasay City
 A sales attendant arranges baby wipe products at a retail store in Pasay City

A waste and pollution watch group has again alerted both government regulators and consumers against the proliferation of pre-moistened baby wet wipes that  may cause allergic reactions.

“Consumers should steer clear of wet wipes and other leave-on personal care products  containing banned MCI/MIT preservatives that can cause itchy red rash on the sensitive skin of babies and children,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

MCI, which stands for methylchloroisothiazolinone, and MIT, which means methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MIT), are preservatives that are not allowed in leave-on cosmetic products, including wet wipes, under the ASEAN and the European Union cosmetic directives as these compounds can bring about allergic contact dermatitis.

“Consumers should carefully read the product labels, avoid wipes containing MCI/MIT and shun those that have not been assessed by health authorities for their quality and safety,” Dizon pointed out.

“We also advise consumers not to flush used wet wipes or throw them on streets or canals as these may block the drainage and sewer systems, clog anti-flood pumping stations, ruin wastewater pumps, and aggravate the plastic pollution of water bodies and the oceans” Dizon added.

In a report submitted today to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EcoWaste Coalition informed the agency about the illegal sale of unregistered wet wipes in retail establishments in Pasay City.

In test buys conducted last July 14, the group managed to purchase 12 brands of wet wipes marketed for use in cleansing babies’ sensitive skin that have not undergone quality and safety verification by the FDA.

None of these 12 baby wipes, costing P15 to P83.75 per pack, had the required product notifications.

More alarmingly, five of the 12 products listed banned preservatives MCI/MIT as ingredients.

These five products are Aierdan Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Baby Tender Baby Wipes, Dang Yang DY 999 Baby Wipes, Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes, and Toallitas de Bebe Baby Wipes.

Cosmetic regulators have disallowed MCI/MIT in leave-on cosmetics as “no safe concentrations” of these preservatives have been determined that will not induce allergy.

For children’s health and safety, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the FDA to issue an advisory focusing on baby wet wipes that will warn the public against the purchase and use of unnotified baby wipes.

“The advisory should particularly warn consumers against products containing MCI/MIT that can provoke allergic contact dermatitis to sensitized persons,” the group said.

The group further urged the FDA to conduct law enforcement action to rid both the formal and informal market of unnotified baby wipes with special emphasis on products containing banned MCI/MIT.


16 July 2018

Environmentalists Urge PRRD to Present Ecological Solutions to the Country’s Waste and Pollution Problems in His SONA

Green campaigners today urged President Rodrigo Roa Duterte to emphasize ecological solutions to the waste and pollution problems afflicting the country in his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 23.

“We hope the President will use the SONA to rally the whole nation in embracing proven waste prevention and reduction strategies, including waste segregation at source, reusing, recycling and composting, to tame the ballooning national production of garbage estimated at over 40,000 tons per day,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Now is the time for the President to direct national government agencies and local government units to actively implement R.A. 9003 through the replication of best practices in ecological discards management and the strict enforcement of prohibited acts such as the manufacture, distribution or use of non-environmentally acceptable packaging materials, littering, open dumping, open burning, and waste incineration,”  he said.

R.A. 9003, or the Ecological Solid Waste Management Act, requires a comprehensive and ecological approach to managing municipal solid waste via waste prevention, reduction, source separation, reuse, recycling and composting, excluding waste incineration.

Ruel Cabile, Anti-Incinerator Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, appealed to the President to reconsider his stance as regards the establishment of waste-to-energy (WtE) incineration plants for burning discards.

“Burning discards in WtE facilities will only worsen the country’s garbage situation as this quick-fix ‘solution’ will only encourage reckless consumption and throw-away attitude and lead to the release of by-product pollutants of combustion such as dioxins and other environmental contaminants.  What our communities need are functional materials recovery facilities and clean recycling factories rather than waste burners,” he said.

Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition, expressed his hope that President Duterte will back progressive policies and measures that will protect public health and the environment against hazardous chemicals, products and wastes.
“We expect the chief executive to also weigh in on the need to protect our people against health and environmental harms caused by chemical exposure and the need for companies to shift to clean production and to make those polluting the ecosystems pay,” he said.

Dizon also urged the Duterte government to ratify the Minamata Convention on Mercury and implement mercury pollution prevention measures, including making the dormant US$1.37 million mercury lamp waste recycling facility operational in 2018.

“It is also high time for the President to make his voice heard regarding the plastic and chemical pollution that is making our oceans dirty and sick.  We hope he will declare the ban on single-use plastics such as plastic bags, straws and stirrers, as well as the ban on microplastics in cosmetics, as a government priority to curb the plastic and chemical assault on our oceans and the food supply,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Lucero also pressed President Duterte to, once and for all, declare in his SONA the return of the illegal garbage shipments from Canada and the tightening of laws and regulations to prevent foreign waste dumping, including banning waste imports and ratifying the Basel Ban Amendment, which seeks to protect developing countries from becoming dumping grounds for waste, including toxic and hazardous wastes, from developed countries.


12 July 2018

Groups Back Proposed QC Ordinance Banning Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Cosmetics

An ordinance that will ban and penalize the manufacture, distribution and sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in Quezon City has garnered the support of environmental and health groups in the city.

Introduced by District 1 Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente and filed last July 10, PO-20 CC-439  seeks to ensure strict compliance by business and commercial establishments, as well as street, tiangge and online vendors, to the government regulation prohibiting mercury in cosmetics above one part per million (ppm).

The ordinance will apply to cosmetics such as creams, lotions and soaps that are designed to lighten or whiten the color of the skin.

“The ordinance, we hope, will be swiftly acted upon by our councilors to end the persistent trade of banned mercury-tainted cosmetics in Quezon City that pose serious health risks to consumers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group has repeatedly called attention to such unlawful trade in Metro Manila.  In May 2018, for example, the group bared the illegal sale of skin lightening cosmetics in Cubao, Quezon City with mercury as much as 21,100 times the trace amount limit of one ppm.

“Such a measure will help in reducing mercury releases to air, water and soil from mercury in products and wastes and should be unanimously supported,” noted Sonia Mendoza, Chairman, Mother Earth Foundation. 

As stated in Delarmente’s draft ordinance, the measure aims to: 

-- To halt the illegal manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of cosmetic products not compliant with the state and ASEAN policy on mercury in cosmetics.  

 --To promote citizen awareness about the health and environmental hazards of consuming mercury-containing cosmetics.

--To ensure the environmentally-sound management of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics.

If approved, the ordinance will not only ban the trade of cosmetics with mercury content in excess of one ppm, but will also ban the open dumping, open burning and/or disposal of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics along with regular municipal solid waste.

Proposed penalties include a fine of P2,000 for the first offense, a fine of P3,000 and suspension of business for the second offense, and a fine of P5,000 or imprisonment of 30 days, and cancellation of business license, or both, for the third offense.

In addition, all those convicted by the court will also be required to render 30 days of community service.

The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive prohibits mercury in cosmetic product formulations and sets a maximum limit of one ppm for mercury as a contaminant in cosmetics.  

The Minamata Convention on Mercury has also scheduled the global phase-out by 2020 of cosmetics, including skin lightening creams and soaps, with mercury content above one ppm.

According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.  Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,” the FDA said.

It also warned that “the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life.”


11 July 2018

NGO Pushes for Lead-Safe DBM’s “Green, Green, Green” Projects

As the P2.5 billion “Green, Green, Green” program of the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) goes in full swing, a non-profit environmental health organization urged the agency to ensure that funded projects only use paints with no added lead, a toxic chemical.

Through a letter sent today to DBM Secretary Benjamin Diokno and Assistance to Cities Program Manager Julia Nebrija, the EcoWaste Coalition welcomed the “Green, Green, Green” program to make the country’s 145 cities “more livable, sustainable, and well connected through the development or enhancement of public open spaces.” 

According to the group, the “Green, Green, Green” program fits well with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals on “Sustainable Cities and Communities,” and corresponds to one of the goal targets, namely, “by 2030, provide universal access to safe, inclusive and accessible, green and public spaces, in particular for women and children, older persons and persons with disabilities.”

“As some of the projects being proposed for funding under this program may include painting or repainting jobs, we strongly suggest that the mandatory procurement and use of lead-safe paints as verified through third-party certification be included in the evaluation and approval of project proposals received from applicant cities,” said Eileen Sison, President, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The use of lead-safe paints should be duly included by the DBM in the criteria for truly ‘green’ open space development or enhancement projects by our cities,” she added.

Specifying the compulsory procurement and use of certified lead-safe paints will ensure that only paints with no added lead will be used to decorate fences and gates, playground equipment, tables, chairs and benches, recreational facilities, signages, structures, etc., particularly in parks and plazas where children often go for rest and leisure, the group said.   

The group noted that such a requirement will be in sync with DENR A.O. 2013-24 phasing out lead-added paints used for architectural, household and decorative applications on 31 December 2016.  

It will also be in line with DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 enjoining local government units (LGUs) to “support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health."

The said directive by DILG Secretary Eduardo M. Año urged local authorities to “adopt a Lead-Safe Paint Procurement Policy to make sure LGUs only purchase and use lead-safe paints for painting jobs paid out of public funds.”

According to the UN-backed Global Alliance to Eliminate Lead Paint (which counts on the  DENR, the Philippine Association of Paint Manufacturers and the EcoWaste Coalition among its members), "paint containing lead additives poses risks to health from poisoning and environmental contamination.”  

“Lead can have permanent health effects on children, but also creates harm in adults.  Childhood lead poisoning, also during pregnancy, can have lifelong health impacts including: learning disabilities, anemia and disorders in coordination, visual, spatial and language skills. There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe for adults or children," the alliance said.



https://server2.denr.gov.ph/up loads/rmdd/dao-2013-24.pdf

http://www.dilg.gov.ph/issuanc es/mc/Mandatory-use-of-Lead- Safe-Paints-by-LGUs/2658

https://www.unenvironment.org/ explore-topics/chemicals-waste /what-we-do/emerging-issues/ global-alliance-eliminate- lead-paint

08 July 2018

Manila LGU Urged to Go After Retailers of Banned Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Cosmetics

A toxics watch group today urged the Manila City Government to take action against retailers of mercury-laced skin whitening products that pose imminent danger or injury to consumers.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the plea after buying two brands of imported skin lightening creams from China that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned in 2010 and 2015.

“We call upon the local government, health and police authorities of the City of Manila to go after unscrupulous retailers of banned cosmetics contaminated with mercury, a chemical that is highly hazardous to health and the environment,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The FDA had earlier requested local government units and law enforcement agencies “to ensure that these products are not sold or made available in their localities or areas of jurisdiction.”

In test buys conducted yesterday, July 7, the group bought Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set from stalls selling beauty products and herbal food supplements at a shopping mall in Recto Avenue, Quiapo, Manila.

With the help of a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer, the group detected 2,077 parts per million (ppm) in the day cream of the Jiaoli product and 311 ppm in its night cream.

For the S’Zitang product, the day cream had 2,879 ppm of mercury and the night cream had 1,566 ppm.

Mercury is not allowed as an ingredient in cosmetic product formulations under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, which has also set 1 ppm as the maximum trace amount limit for mercury in cosmetics.

According to FDA Advisory 2010-002 banning Jiaoli, “cosmetic products containing such impurities/contaminants that are way beyond the allowable limit clearly pose imminent danger or injury to the consuming public.”

First banned in 2015 through FDA Advisory 2015-025, the FDA reiterated the ban on S’Zitang with the issuance of FDA Advisory 2018-183 last May 29.

According to the FDA, “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.  Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,” the FDA said.

It also warned that “the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life.”

The EcoWaste Coalition said that skin lightening creams and soaps with mercury content above 1 ppm are subject to phase-out by 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which the Philippines signed in 2013.