30 March 2012

Watchdog Finds Toxic Goods in "Ukay-Ukay" and Surplus Stores






Quezon City. Beware: cheap items sold in shops selling old and new personal and household stuff from Japan, South Korea and US are not necessarily “good deal” as some may contain chemicals that are harmful to health and the environment.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, issued this reminder as budget-conscious Filipinos flock to “ukay-ukay” (second-hand) and surplus stores to find imported products at low, if not give-away, prices.

The reminder was prompted by the chemicals screening conducted by the group last Friday, March 30, using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer for 35 samples of mugs, plates and bowls bought from 10 “ukay-ukay” and surplus retailers in the cities of Caloocan, Manila and Quezon.

The items were produced in China, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Taiwan and the USA and sold from P20 to P90.

35 of the 35 samples had toxic metals above levels of concern, including 23 samples with lead, a potent neurotoxin, up to over 100,000 parts per million (ppm), and 19 samples with cadmium, a probable cancer-causing agent, up to 3,791 ppm, exceeding the US regulatory limit of 90 ppm for lead and 75 ppm for cadmium in consumer products.

“Our investigation shows that certain dinnerware contains alarming amounts of lead and cadmium that can potentially leach and cause long-term health risks. None of these products indicate that they are made lead or cadmium glazes or paints,” Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition's Project PROTECT said.

“We also detected other chemicals of concern in the samples, including antimony, arsenic, chromium and, in some cases, traces of mercury,” she added.

"Products used for eating and drinking simply should not contain any lead or other toxic metals as there really is no safe level of exposure for these substances, especially for a young child," she asserted.

Two samples (a plate and a cup) stood out for having lead that exceeds 100,000 ppm, which is beyond the XRF calibration unit.

Among the mugs, a small blue cup with a floral design supposedly made in Mexico registered with the highest amount of lead at more than 100,000 ppm. This item was bought from an “ukay-ukay” shop in Santa Cruz, Manila that sells used items from Japan and USA.

Among the dinnerware, a white and yellow “Stangl” plate from New Jersey had the highest level of lead at over 100,000 ppm. This item was purchased from an "ukay-ukay" shop in Cubao, Quezon City that sells second-hand products from USA.

The other top five “ukay-ukay” items with elevated levels of lead include a beige and gold bowl with 47,700 ppm, a “Halloween” mug with 36,300 ppm, a yellow bowl with floral design with 32,900 ppm, a hand-painted plate with 30,100 ppm, and a coffee mug decorated with a cartoon strip with 20,700 ppm.

Interestingly, three “made in China” mugs with the revered images of a resurrected Jesus Christ, “Our Lady of Sorrows” and “Our Mother of Perpetual Help” were found to contain high levels of cadmium, a potential human carcinogen, ranging from 136 to 2,051 ppm . These items were obtained from the “American Bazaar” section of Daiso Japan Store in Cubao.

The samples were procured between March 27 to 29 from Asia Consumer Value Trading and Home Saver in Monumento, Caloocan City; Japan Home Centre and Saizen in Robinsons Place, Ermita and the Avenue Japan Surplus Shop, Hapon Surplus Trading and Hirofuku Trading in Santa Cruz, Manila; and the Daiso Japan Store and CSMA Surplus Trading in Cubao, and Nice Mart in Barangay Central, Quezon City.

“Going to your favorite ‘ukay-ukay’ or surplus stores may be bad for your health and that of your family if you do not know what exactly you are buying and paying for,” Lucero said.

“We’re not saying you should stop going to these places to shop for your needs, but you should always be nosy and insist on product safety information before heading to the cashier to pay for your purchase. In fact, a safety-conscious consumer should demand information regardless of where the product is bought,” she emphasized.

"Retailers who care for the health and safety of their customers should immediately take the tainted items off their stores," she added.

Exposure to lead can result in reproductive, developmental, behavioral and neurological disorders, including birth defects, attention deficit disorder, decreased intelligence, language and speech problems, and a host of other ailments such as poor muscle coordination, high blood pressure, and damage to the brain and the kidneys.

Ceramic and glass coffee mugs, drinking cups, plates and bowls are often adorned with painted or oven-fired colors containing lead and other heavy metals such as cadmium, the EcoWaste Coalition observed.

These toxic metals can migrate out of these containers resulting to chronic poisoning due to repeated contact between the tainted vessel and the beverage or food a person consumes, it said.

Lead or cadmium-based glasses and ceramics can reach and contaminate the waste stream, leaching their toxic components onto the ground and surface water and the environment, the group also pointed out.

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EcoWaste Coalition Pushes for "Walang Aksaya," Zero Waste Holy Days

(Photo by Miguel Candela)


An environmental network has exhorted the faithful to aim for reduced garbage generation during the week-long observance of the passion, death and resurrection of Christ the Redeemer.

“We urge our Christian brothers and sisters to voluntarily declare Palm Sunday to Easter as ‘Walang Aksaya’ (zero waste) week and avoid practices and activities that create garbage and pollution during the holy days,” said Roy Alvarez, President, EcoWaste Coalition, a waste and pollution watchdog.

“Such a gesture will surely give Mother Earth a much-deserved relief from our wasteful lifestyle that is taking a heavy toll on our fragile ecosystems,” he added.

“A less wasteful living even for only a week will translate to tons and tons of garbage not being created and dumped or burned elsewhere, particularly in Metro Manila, the country’s top waste generator,” he emphasized.

Data from the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) indicate that waste generation in the metropolis has reached 8,746 tons per day in 2010.

“A break from our usual buy-consume-throw routine during the Holy Week and beyond could be our penitential act leading to our ecological conversion,” Alvarez said.

Possible indicators of “Walang Aksaya” holy days are many and could include a more conscious effort to lessen what you throw to the bin through increased reusing, recycling and composting; a more determined stance to use reusable bags and containers instead of plastic bags; a more judicious use of utilities such as water and electricity; and a more deliberate plan to eliminate all forms of littering and wasting, especially in religious activities.

“We request those organizing and participating in the “pabasa,” “senakulo,” Stations of the Cross, “Santo Entierro” and the Easter “Salubong” not to trash these time-honored expressions of remembrance and faith,” Alvarez stressed.

“We specifically ask those planning to join the ‘Alay Lakad’ to Antipolo City not to turn their pilgrimage into ‘Alay Kalat’ as we have many times observed in the past,” he stated.

The EcoWaste Coalition has come up with these tips towards an eco-simple Holy Week:

1. Declare the whole week as “Walang Aksaya Week” for the family and agree to undertake practical measures to cut waste and reduce consumption of water, electricity and other valuable resources.

2. Throw less; aim to reduce waste by ensuring that everyone in your household knows and observes basic practices in ecological discards management such as sorting, reusing, recycling and composting.

3. Stay home and enjoy peace and quiet for a change. This will save gas and reduce carbon emissions that cause climate change.

4. If you really must go out-of-town, please consider the following:
a. Choose a destination that is not overcrowded so as not to strain the local resources.
b. Visit sites that promote ecotourism and those that really benefit the local community.
c. Use the public transportation or a car pool in going to your chosen destination.
d. Apply the ecological creed: “take nothing but pictures, leave nothing but footprints, kill nothing but time.”

5. Quit smoking for a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, and support all tobacco control measures, including the ban on smoking in all public places, workplaces, government facilities and public transportation.

6. Give up morning and afternoon snacks and share the money you will save with “Alay Kapwa” or your favorite charity.

7. Fast, abstain, or eat spartan meals and spend the unused food budget on feeding the poor, such as cooking “tsampurado” for street children or fire victims (e.g., March 28, 2012 Tatalon fire victims).

8. Avoid fastfood or restaurant food; prepare simple but healthy home-cooked meals with no meat, no preservatives and no wasteful packaging. Make Holy Week the perfect excuse to try a vegetarian diet.

9. Avoid junk food and soda the whole week; take fruits and plain water.

10. Bring your own “binalot” food and drinking water when you do your Visita Iglesia on Maundy Thursday. Walk, bike or take the public transportation to the churches you will visit.

11. Unclutter your closet; pick at least five pieces of clothes and give them to sampaguita vendors or donate stuff to the “Segunda Mana” project of Caritas Manila.

12. Make space on your bookshelf by donating some of your books to public libraries and schools.

13. Do something different as a response to the call for change. Give up some personal time to serve the church and the society like volunteering your service to a ministry for the underprivileged or cleaning up your neighborhood.

14. Set a time to reflect and meditate with spiritually uplifting music; plant a tree or herbs, vegetables or even pretty flowers; or learn to cook a healthy, great-tasting vegetarian dish for the whole family to enjoy.

15. Challenge yourself on how much you can do without, and discover just how little you really need: For example, abstain from malling, movies, television, internet gaming, texting, and electronic gadgets that consume lots of your personal time, and rediscover the satisfaction of physical exercise, the wonder of conversations, and the joy of spending fruitful moments with your loved ones.

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28 March 2012

Toxic Slippers: Flip Flops Flunk Chemicals Screening



Quezon City. A toxics watchdog has uncovered high amounts of heavy metals in what many consider as essential purchases, especially during the summer season: slippers.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, the EcoWaste Coalition screened the slippers for toxic metals and detected lead, antimony, barium and cadmium above levels of concern in 11 out of the 20 samples.

Lead, in particular, is a known brain-damaging poison and kids are among the extremely susceptible because of their fast developing nervous systems. Health experts have determined no safe level of lead exposure, notably for fetuses and children.

Nine of the 20 samples topped the 90 parts per million (ppm) total lead content limit for painted surfaces under the US Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, while six went over the 60 ppm soluble content limit for antimony, three exceeded the 1,000 ppm soluble content limit for barium and two surpassed the 75 soluble content limit for cadmium.

The samples were obtained from vendors at Farmers’ Market and Mega Q-Mart and from popular retail establishments such as Puregold, Shopwise and SM, all in Cubao, and from the Matalino St. branch of 7-Eleven store chain.

Among the samples screened, all three “Caribbean” flip flops ("Jack," "Madeline" and "Quentin" styles) bought from 7-Eleven and SM registered with the highest amounts of lead and antimony of up to 10,900 ppm for lead and up to 4,295 ppm for antimony.

“We are stunned by the detection of high levels of lead and other heavy metals frequently used as pigments or stabilizers in slippers whose safety aspects we often take for granted,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT.

“Aside from directly affecting those who wear these slippers, these toxic metals, particularly the lead on the painted parts of slippers, can spread into the environment as these wear out, as the soles rub on the ground and as these are later discarded or even burned,” he explained.

"We therefore ask manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to produce and market products with no lead and other harmful chemical ingredients, and to adequately label their products so consumers can make informed and safe choices," he stated.

"As for consumers, we urge them to use their power to demand products that do not pose hazards to health and the environment," he further said.

This is the second time that the EcoWaste Coalition analyzed slippers for chemicals that can adversely impact human health and the environment.

In 2009, the EcoWaste Coalition took part in a seven-country study on chemicals in slippers led by the Swedish Society for Nature Conservation that found high levels of copper, nickel and dibutyl phthalate (DBP) in three samples procured from Philippine stores.

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References:

SSNC report on chemicals in slippers:
http://www.naturskyddsforeningen.se/upload/Foreningsdokument/Rapporter/engelska/chemicals_in_plastic_shoes.pdf

CPSIA testing requirements:
http://blog.essco-safetycheck.com/2009/11/30/cpsia-testing-methods-and-requirements-%E2%80%93-both-total-content-and-soluble-content-tests-are-required-to-pass-the-cpsia/

26 March 2012

Experts Press for Health Action vs Lead Exposure


Quezon City. An environmental health specialist from US and a pediatric toxicologist from the Philippines today reiterated the need for action against a real threat to children’s health: lead-added paint.

At a forum organized by the EcoWaste Coalition, Dr. Scott Clark from the University of Cincinnati and Dr. Bessie Antonio from the East Avenue Medical Center jointly emphasized the need for a concerted response to eliminate children’s exposure to lead that could result to health problems with long-term and often irreversible impacts.

Clark, who is in Manila for the partners’ meeting of the IPEN Asia Lead Elimination Project, said that exposure to lead could be dramatically reduced by a ban on the addition of this heavy metal in household decorative paints and in consumer products such as toys.

“Lead is one of the oldest known poisons. While efforts to control lead levels in paint began over 90 years ago, paints with high levels of lead are still widely available in much of the world, including the Philippines,” said Clark.

A global study on paint in 2009 found lead up to 189,100 parts per million (ppm) in 10 of 15 samples from the Philippines, while a follow-up study in 2010 detected lead up to 161,700 ppm in 24 of 26 samples from the country, way above the US limit of 90 ppm.

“Many successful paint companies are already using alternatives to lead pigments and producing high quality paint. It would be horrible and unacceptable to see a legacy of poisoned children. It’s high time for all companies to shift to non-lead substitutes for the health of the present and future generations of children,” he said.

Current data from some countries, according to Clark, suggest that lead levels in many decorative paints are less than 90 ppm and often below 45 ppm.

In addition to lead-contaminated dust from peeling paints, Dr. Bessie Antonio identified other sources of lead exposure, including backyard metal scrap recycling, lead-based tableware, lead-soldered cans and even lead-added beauty products.

"Efforts must be made to prevent and reduce children's exposure to heavy metals, many of which are dangerous for a child's developing brain and body even at low levels," she said.

"There is no safe level for lead exposure, especially for developing fetuses and children. Exposure to this toxic metal can damage the brain, lower a child's intelligence, decrease a child's attention span and cause delays in a child's speaking, reading and learning skills" she explained.

At the end of the forum, the participants agreed to step up the ongoing campaign led by the EcoWaste Coalition toward a strong chemical control order (CCO) that will keep the total lead content in paints as low as possible.

The Philippines, under the Clean Air Act of 1999, has successfully banned the sale and use of leaded gasoline, but has yet to phase out lead-added paints from the market.


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14 March 2012

Watchdog Reveals Hidden Toxins in Cosmetics, Pushes for Consumer Awareness on Health Cost of “Beauty”


Advocates for public health and safety against toxic chemicals in products and wastes are ringing out the alarm against dangerous substances in cosmetics on the market.

In a press briefing held on the eve of World Consumer Rights Day, the EcoWaste Coalition disclosed the results of the most recent screening of cosmetics it conducted using the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

“Our latest probe on cosmetics shows that some products are downright ugly and should be quickly pulled out from store shelves. The intentional use of lead, mercury and other harmful ingredients in cosmetics is putting users and even non-users of such products, including those yet to be born, in real danger and must cease without delay,” said Aileen Lucero, Safe Cosmetics Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

A visiting California-based scientist corroborated the group’s health warning saying that toxic chemicals in cosmetics “are of particular concern for women, who have both higher exposure and higher accumulation of contaminants, as well as for fetuses and children at critical windows of development.”

Speaking before the media, Dr. Ann Blake said “the test results only reinforce the need for strong cosmetics regulations that will hold manufacturers to strictest international standards, require full disclosure of product ingredients, ban acute toxic hazards and raise consumer awareness of the health cost of beauty.”

Of the 50 cosmetic products analyzed by the group, 28 were found to contain toxic metals such as antimony, lead, chromium and mercury above levels of concern.

Three lipsticks had lead with one brand (“Mengdu Express”) registering 7,062 ppm of lead way above the ASEAN limit of 20 ppm. “Mengdu Express” lipstick also had chromium at 1,070 ppm.

Eleven blush- on, eye shadow and lipstick products had mercury ranging from 2.9 to 12 ppm, while 15 skin whitening creams had mercury up to 38,500 ppm, exceeding the ASEAN, China and Philippine FDA regulatory limit of 1 ppm for mercury in cosmetics.

Shockingly, seven of these mercury-laden skin whitening creams were among the 50 products already banned by the FDA for containing mercury that “pose imminent danger or injury to the consuming public.”

None of the 28 “toxic beauty products” listed antimony, lead, chromium and mercury among their ingredients, leaving consumers in the dark about the hidden poisons in such products.

To prevent toxic exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition advises cosmetics consumers to:

1. Critically read the product information and refrain from buying unlabelled/mislabelled and unregistered cosmetics.
2. Avoid cosmetics with chemical ingredients that are hard to spell, pronounce and understand.
3. Demand safe products and be conscious of the health costs of “beauty.”

For the cosmetics industry, the EcoWaste Coalition recommends the following:

1. Remove toxic metals and other chemicals of concern in cosmetics and replace these with non-hazardous substitutes.
2. Disclose all chemical ingredients, including impurities, on the product labels and online.
3. Provide hazard labelling for products containing ingredients linked to cancer and other major health issues.

13 March 2012

US Expert Cautions about Health Cost of “Beauty


13 March 2012, Muntinlupa City/Quezon City. A visiting expert in toxics reduction strategies in cosmetics and other consumer products is calling for stringent regulation that will do away with ingredients known or suspected of causing cancer and other serious harm to human health.

At a lecture-forum jointly organized by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the EcoWaste Coalition, California-based Dr. Ann Blake spoke about “Women, Cosmetics and Toxic Chemicals” and the need for increased awareness on the health cost of “beauty.”

Held against a backdrop of shocking revelations regarding dangerous substances in beauty products sold in the Philippines and in the USA, the timely event saw over 100 participants from the government, industry and the civil society actively discussing the risks of chemical exposure in cosmetics and how these can be avoided.

The US FDA in December 2011 reported the presence of lead in 400 types of lipstick, while the Philippine FDA in August 2011 banned 50 brands of skin whitening creams for containing dangerous amounts of mercury, including products tested by the EcoWaste Coalition using X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

In her presentation, Dr. Blake drew attention to major chemicals of concern in cosmetics, for example, heavy metals such as lead in lipstick, mercury and hydroquinone in skin whiteners, coal tar derivatives in dark hair dyes, hormone disruptors in fragranced products, and formaldehyde and paraben preservatives in numerous personal care items.

“Cosmetic ingredients are ubiquitous in our bodies and the environment. The impacts of long-term, multiple chronic exposures are unknown, but recent science indicates cause for concern, particularly around heavy metals, persistent and bioaccumulative ingredients, and hormone-disrupting chemicals,” explained Blake.

“These chemicals are of particular concern for women, who have both higher exposure and higher accumulation of contaminants, as well as for fetuses and children at critical windows of development,” she said.

According to Blake, women have higher chemical exposure from consumer products, including cosmetics containing ingredients that are acutely toxic (e.g., lead, mercury) and chronic hormone disruptors (e.g., phthalates in fragrances).

Blake, however, clarified that everyone, including men, is impacted in various ways by our environmental exposures to chemicals, particularly those from products that are applied daily to the bodies.

“While men are exposed on average to six products a day versus 12 products for women, they are still exposed to some 80 unique chemicals from personal care products such as soap, shampoo, shaving cream, fragranced aftershave, etc. Some male-specific health effects include exposure to Di-Ethyl Phthalate (DEP), a hormone disruptor, that impact on sperm quality and motility,” she explained.

Environmental exposures to chemicals in commerce and consumer products are linked to major public health issues such as cancers, cardio-vascular diseases, autoimmune and neurological diseases, obesity and type II diabetes, pediatric asthma, reproductive and developmental disorders, Blake stated.

Citing information from the World Health Organization about the costs of disease burden from chemical exposure, Blake said that 19% of all cancers can be attributed to environmental exposures.

Exposures at critical windows of development, Blake pointed out, can cause lifetime problems (and costs to society) such as hypospadias (a birth defect of the male urethra) and the early onset of puberty in girls.

Other lifelong effects of early exposure to toxics, according to Blake, can include diseases affecting the central nervous system (autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, learning disabilities, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer's disease), female reproductive system (endometriosis, breast cancer), male reproductive system (cryptorchidism or undescended testicles, hypospadias infertility/subfertility, testicular cancer, prostate cancer) and other diseases such as juvenile diabetes and obesity.

Blake holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics of Neural Development from the University of Oregon, USA and is a member of the Green Ribbon Science Panel of California’s Environmental Protection Agency.

She has worked for 18 years in toxics reduction strategies that include creating criteria for environmentally preferable purchasing, eco-labeling and product rating systems as well as local, national and international chemicals policy reform.

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08 March 2012

Manila Mulls Harsh Penalties to Curb Unlawful Sale of Mercury-Containing Cosmetics

Manila. A city councilor of Manila today filed an ordinance imposing sanctions and fines against individuals and establishments selling cosmetics laced with mercury, an extremely toxic chemical.

Coinciding with the celebration of International Women’s Day, District II Councilor Numero “Uno” Lim filed a public health and safety measure entitled “An Ordinance to Stop the Illegal Sale of Injurious Mercury-Containing Cosmetics in the City of Manila.”

The Ordinance shall apply to personal care products such as creams, lotions and soaps that are designed to lighten or whiten the color of the skin.

The Ordinance, consistent with R.A. 9711 or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, shall penalize individual violators with imprisonment from one to 10 years or a fine from P50,000 to P500,000, or both.

For violators who are manufacturers, importers or distributors, the imprisonment of 5 to 10 years and the fine of P500,000 to P5,000,000 shall apply.

“The severe penalties awaiting violators should dampen if not flush out the illegal trade of dangerous cosmetics that pose hazards to consumer health, especially to women,” said Lim in a statement.

"This is an important step in the right direction that we know willprotect women and the general public against mercury exposure in products as well as in wastes," commented Aileen Lucero, Safe Cosmetics Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

Lim earlier filed a resolution unanimously adopted by the City Council on February 21, 2012 urging the City Department of Health “to vigorously assist the Food and Drug Administration in the strict enforcement of the ban on mercury-tainted cosmetics.”

The ordinance seeks “to ensure strict compliance by business and commercial establishments, as well as street, 'tiangge' and online vendors, to the national regulation banning the sale of cosmetics containing mercury above the limit set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

The FDA, in line with the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, has set 1 part per million (ppm) as “allowable limit” for mercury in cosmetics.

Specifically, the Ordinance aims to:

a. To halt the illegal manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion,distribution and sale of untested, unlabeled and/or unregistered cosmetics intentionally added with mercury and those cosmetic products that do not conform with the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive.

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

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

Once enacted, the Ordinance shall prohibit:

a. The manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of cosmetics with mercury in excess of 1 ppm as set by the FDA.

b. The sale, wholesale or retail, of cosmetics that have not been authorized by the FDA as required by R.A. 9711.

c. The sale, wholesale or retail, of cosmetics that have not complied with the labeling requirements implemented by the FDA.

d. The open dumping, open burning and/or disposal of banned, recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics in regular municipal solid waste.

Violation of the ordinance shall be a basis for the suspension of the business license or permit for a period of not more than fifteen (15) days for the first violation; thirty (30) days for the second violation, and the revocation thereof for the third and subsequent violations.

All banned, recalled and/or confiscated stocks of cosmetics containing mercury shall be returned to the exporting country/ies at the expense of the concerned importers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers or vendors for environmentally-sound disposal, according to the Ordinance.

If ownership of the banned, recalled and/or confiscated cosmetics cannot be determined, the same shall be temporarily kept at a secured place for environmentally-sound disposal in coordination with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the FDA and other relevant agencies, the Ordinance stated.

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01 March 2012

US Scientist to Visit PH to Drum Up Awareness and Action vs Harmful Chemicals in Cosmetics

A California-based scientist promoting the elimination of toxic chemicals in health and beauty products is coming over to the Philippines as the country gears up for the celebration of Women’s Month this March.

At the invitation of the EcoWaste Coalition, Dr. Ann Blake, a member of the Green Ribbon Science Panel of California’s Environmental Protection Agency, will talk about “Women, Cosmetics and Toxic Chemicals” at events slated in Muntinlupa City and Cebu City on March 13 and 16, respectively.

The forum in Muntinlupa will be jointly convened by the Food and Drug Administration and the EcoWaste Coalition, while that in Cebu will be led by the Office of Councilor Nida Cabrera (Chair of Cebu City Council’s Committee on the Environment), the Philippine Earth Justice Center and the EcoWaste Coalition.

Both events will bring to light major chemicals of concern in cosmetics and why consumers, industry and regulatory bodies alike should be concerned.

“Cosmetic ingredients are ubiquitous in our bodies and the environment. The impacts of long-term, multiple chronic exposures are unknown, but recent science indicates cause for concern, particularly around heavy metals, persistent and bioaccumulative ingredients, and hormone-disrupting chemicals,” Blake said in statement.

“These chemicals are of particular concern for women, who have both higher exposure and higher accumulation of contaminants, as well as for fetuses and children at critical windows of development,” she added.

“All of us, however, are impacted in various ways by environmental exposures to chemicals, particularly those from products we apply to our bodies daily,” she pointed out.

Blake’s presentation will also provide an overview of existing global regulation of cosmetic and personal care product ingredients. The strengths and weaknesses of regulation in the US, the European Union, Canada, Japan and the ASEAN nations will be reviewed.

She will likewise share information about local and state regulations and NGO efforts that have served as the basis for new proposals for US regulation including the Safe Cosmetics Act introduced this year.

Her lecture will conclude with an overview of practical information tools and other relevant resources available for regulators and other stakeholders interested in shaping regulatory policy that is most protective of human and environmental health.

Blake has worked for 18 years in toxics reduction strategies that include creating criteria for environmentally preferable purchasing, eco-labeling and product rating systems as well as local, national and international chemicals policy reform.

She has specifically worked with the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics and the over 800 signatories of the “Compact for Global Production of Safe Health and Beauty Products” to implement the Compact for Safe Cosmetics, including substitution plans to eliminate product ingredients known or suspected of causing cancer,mutation or birth defects.

Blake holds a Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics of Neural Development from the University of Oregon, USA.

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