18 June 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Cautions Parents vs. Baby Wipes with Banned Preservatives

Some wet wipes that are used to clean the face, hands and bottom of babies may contain banned preservatives that can trigger allergic reactions.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit environmental and health organization, sounded the alarm versus methylchloroisothiazoli none and methylisothiazolinone (MCI/MIT), two chemical preservatives that are banned in leave-on cosmetic products such as wet wipes.

“Our test buys show that imported baby wipes sold for as low as P20 per pack contain these chemical preservatives that are associated with allergic reactions such as skin rashes,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Last Sunday, June 17, the group managed to buy unregistered baby wipes listing MCI/MIT as ingredients from retailers at 168, 999, and Lucky Chinatown Shopping Malls in Manila.

One of the products bought ---  “Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes Fresh Scented” --- was among those included in the public health warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration last March 22 against unverified and potentially dangerous cosmetic products.

“Skin contact with MCI/MIT, which are known sensitizing agents, can elicit allergic contact dermatitis in humans, especially among babies who have very delicate skin,” he said.

While MCI/MIT are allowed in rinse-off cosmetic products, cosmetic regulations governing the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the  European Union (EU) ban these preservatives in leave-on products including wet wipes, Dizon pointed out.

According to the EU, “for leave-on cosmetic products (including ‘wet wipes’), no safe concentrations of MIT for induction of contact allergy or elicitation have been adequately demonstrated.”

To prevent children’s exposure to known skin sensitizers, the EcoWaste Coalition urged parents to consider these tips:

1.  Use lukewarm water, mild soap and cotton balls for cleaning baby’s bottom and only use wet wipes when water is not available.  

2.  Read the product label carefully and shun those that include MCI/MIT as ingredients.

3.  Reject products that do not list their ingredients and do not have an expiry date.

4.  Look for alcohol-free and unscented wet wipes.

5.  To cut the chances of an allergy, refrain from using wet wipes for cleaning baby’s hands, mouth and other body parts.

6.  After using wet wipes, rinse with water to get rid of chemical residues and reduce the risk of skin allergies.

The EcoWaste Coalition further reminded the public 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.



https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachm ents/article/453569/FDA%20Circ ular%20No.2017-006-1.pdf
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/488 137-fda-advisory-no-2018-034
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/497 771-fda-advisory-no-2018-099
https://eur-lex.europa.eu/lega l-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CEL EX:32016R1198&from=EN

15 June 2018

Group Advocates for Proper Waste Management to Beat the Dengue Menace

The EcoWaste Coalition has called on the local authorities and the general public to embrace ecological solid waste management (ESWM) as a practical strategy to address the dengue scourge. 

The waste and pollution watch group aired its plea for ESWM as the ASEAN Dengue Day is observed today, June 15, to increase public awareness on dengue, mobilize resources for its prevention and control, and demonstrate the region’s commitment to tackling the disease. 

“Practicing ESWM in every household and barangay will help a lot in depriving Aedes aegypti mosquitoes with breeding spots,” said Daniel Alejandre, Zero Waste Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Dengue virus is transmitted by day-biting female Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that breed in clean standing water, especially in places where water collects and with poor drainage and sanitation. 

"Carelessly thrown plastic bags and bottles, polystyrene packaging, sachets, snack packs, empty bottles and cans, and other discards can gather and hold water where mosquitoes can lay their eggs.  It’s very important to keep our discards properly sorted and managed," Alejandre pointed out. 

“Also, recyclables such as those stored in school, market and community materials recovery facilities should be kept dry and clean so as not to attract mosquitoes, as well as cockroaches and rats,” he added.

Water storage containers, drums, pails, flower pots, plates under potted plants, cemetery vases, tin cans, tires, rain gutters, ornamental fountains, and other artificial or natural water containers that are within or near to places where people reside are natural breeding habitats for Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, the group said.

To keep the household and community environment free of dengue vectors, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the public to observe the following practical tips: 

-  Check your backyard regularly for water-filled containers.

-  Remove trash that can collect and hold water.

-  Recycle or dispose of water-holding containers that are not needed.

-  Cover water buckets, drums, and tanks with lids.

-  Empty and clean water containers thoroughly once a week.

-  Change water in flower vases weekly.

-  Remove water from plates under potted plants weekly.

-  Clear rain gutters of leaves and other debris.

-  Puncture or cut old rubber tires used as roof support.

To scare and get rid of mosquitoes at home,  the EcoWaste Coalition also encouraged families to grow basil, catnip, citronella grass, garlic, lavender, lemongrass, marigolds, peppermint, rosemary, and other natural mosquito repellents. 

On the other hand, the group cautioned the public from using unregistered insecticides that have flooded the market as these may do more harm than good.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had repeatedly warned  household/urban pesticide products (HUPPs) such as aerosol insecticides, coils,  and anti-mosquito bracelets and pendants, lotions and sprays, and patches that have not been evaluated by the FDA may pose potential hazards to health and the environment. 

“FDA cannot guarantee their quality, efficacy, and safety.  Such products are harmful, toxic and may pose an imminent danger to human and animal health,” the FDA stressed in advisories warning the public against the use of unregistered HUPPs. 



http://asean.org/?static_post= 2017-asean-dengue-day-theme-un ited-fight-dengue
https://www.cdc.gov/dengue/res ources/30Jan2012/aegyptifactsh eet.pdf
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/index.p hp/advisories-2/cosmetic-2/505 748-fda-advisory-no-2018-167- public-health-warning-against- the-use-of-unregistered- household-urban-pesticide- product-batch-6

14 June 2018

Groups Applaud Quezon City Council for Passing Ordinance Requiring the Use of Lead Safe Paints

Children’s health and environmental protection organizations lauded the Quezon City Council for adopting an ordinance that will protect kids, women, and workers from being exposed to lead, a highly hazardous chemical.

In a joint statement, Arugaan (a support group for women with young infants and children) and the EcoWaste Coalition (a waste and pollution watch group) commended the 20th City Council for approving on third and final reading yesterday, June 13, an ordinance “requiring the use of lead safe paint in construction, maintenance and renovation projects and activities” of Quezon Cty.

Sponsored by District I Councilor Elizabeth Delarmente, the ordinance seeks to foster the city’s policy “to promote the public’s health, safety and welfare, as well as promote a toxic-free environment, by ensuring the mandatory procurement and use of duly certified lead safe paints.” 

As defined in the ordinance, “lead safe paint is a paint that does not contain added lead as verified and confirmed through a third party certification.”  On the other hand, “lead paint is a paint or other similar surface coating materials containing lead above the regulatory total maximum lead limit of 90 parts per million (ppm).

“Kudos to Councilor Delarmente and the City Council for enacting an ordinance that will ensure only independently verified lead safe paints are procured and used for painting projects and activities funded by taxpayers’ money.  This is a very good news for children’s, women’s and workers’ health,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“This ordinance will protect babies in the womb and young children from being poisoned by lead through the ingestion and inhalation of lead-laden paint chip and dust, which can irreparably damage the brain and the central nervous system and cause reduced intelligence and behavioral problems,” said Ines Fernandez, Chairperson, Arugaan.

Quezon City is the second local government unit (LGU) after Davao City, that has adopted a lead safe paint ordinance in line with DILG Memorandum Circular 2018-26 enjoining LGUs to“support the phase-out of lead-containing paints and eventually reduce the hazards and risks posed by such paints to human health," according to the EcoWaste Coalition.

The ordinance prohibits the following acts to ensure that leaded paints are not bought and used for the city’s projects and activities: 

--- procuring paints containing lead above 90 ppm;
--- purchasing paints that lack independent proof of compliance with the regulatory standard;
--- receiving and applying donated paints that are not compliant with the lead paint regulation; and
--- using lead-containing paints above 90 ppm in decorating public facilities and amenities, including, but not limited to, schools, day care centers, children’s parks and playgrounds, health centers, sports complexes and covered multi-purpose courts.

The ordinance also requires employees, contractors, and service providers to ”take protective measures  when surfaces previously coated with lead paint are disturbed during repair, remodeling or repainting activities in order to prevent and control the formation and dispersion of lead-containing paint chips and dust and reduce the risk of exposure to lead.” 

Violators will be fined P2,000 for the first offense and  P3,000 for the second offense.  For the third offense, violators will be meted with a fine of P5,000, imprisonment of 30 days or cancellation of business license, or both at the discretion of the court.

In addition, all those convicted by the court will be required to render 30 days of community service to be determined by concerned local government authorities. 

The Quezon City Engineering Department has been assigned to take the lead in the strict implementation of the ordinance in coordination with the Parks Development and Administration Department, Environmental Protection and Waste Management Department, Health Department, Division of City Schools, and relevant national government agencies.




13 June 2018

EcoWaste Coalition Exposes Sale of Banned Mercury-Laden S'Zitang Skin Lightening Product (Group Pushes for Seizure of Mercury-Laden Skin Whitening Cosmetics to Protect Public Health and the Environment)

Despite government’s warning against its illegal sale, a skin lightening product laced with toxic mercury has yet to be removed from the market.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watch group tracking toxic chemicals, products and wastes, revealed that S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set, which health authorities banned over two weeks ago, are still sold in seven cities in Metro Manila.

The Food and Drug Administration last May 29 issued FDA Advisory No. 2018-183 warning the public against the distribution, sale and use of S’Zitang after finding it to be laden with mercury above the trace amount limit of one part per million (ppm) as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

Test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition on June 12 and 13 uncover the illegal sale  of S’Zitang for P75 to P150 each by Chinese drug stores, herbal supplement stores and beauty product stores in Caloocan, Makati, Manila, ParaƱaque, Pasay, Pasig and Quezon Cities. 

The FDA had threatened concerned establishments not to distribute the said product or “regulatory actions and sanctions shall be strictly pursued.”

“Despite stern warning from the FDA, unscrupulous retailers continue to sell S’Zitang, which is damaging to human health as well as the environment because of its mercury content,” stated Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

All the 10 samples of S’Zitang procured by the group had average mercury content of 2,467 ppm for the day cream and 1,344 ppm for the night cream as detected by a portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer.

Mercury absorbed through the skin from prolonged exposure can harm the kidneys, the brain and the central nervous system, and may also result in skin discoloration, rashes, scarring and other side effects, the group pointed out.

“To bring this unlawful trade to a halt, we urge the FDA to make good on their threat, seize the banned product, and prosecute the violators to the full extent of the law,” Dizon pointed out.

The group had earlier lauded government operatives for confiscating last Friday banned mercury-tainted Goree skin whitening products worth P96,000 from retailers at 999 Shopping Mall in Manila.

“Law enforcement efforts by the combined elements of the FDA Regulatory Enforcement Unit, Philippine National Police and Bureau of Customs could break the supply chain of S’Zitang, Goree and other dangerous cosmetics laden with mercury,” Dizon added.    

The seized products, the EcoWaste Coalition emphasized, should be considered as hazardous waste, not mixed with ordinary trash, and disposed of in a safe manner to prevent mercury from entering and polluting the environment, including the ocean ecosystems.

According to the UN Environment, “when products containing mercury are discarded into the general waste stream, they often end up in the environment where they may be burned... (releasing) the mercury they contain into the air, water, and soil.”


11 June 2018

Watch "Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" Episode on Mercury-Laden Goree Skin Whitening Cream

Watch "White Lies", an in-depth investigation by "Kapuso Mo, Jessica Soho" (KMJS) about a skin whitening product called "Goree" that has been found by the Food and Drug Administration, the EcoWaste Coalition and the KMJS itself as being laden with high concentrations of toxic mercury.

Link to the video: