21 November 2013

Statement re FDA's Latest Health Warning vs Mercury-Laced Skin Whitening Cosmetics


 Erna Whitening Cream
   Gemli Beauty Series Freckles Cream Plus Placenta Extract
 Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream
 LMSER Whitening Cream
 Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream Plus Complex Vitamin C & E
 Top Shirley Nourishing Cream
 White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence & Powerful Spot Remover
Zhjren Whitening Ruddy Combination Suit
Zhjren 7 Day Beauty Elegant Moisturizing & Whitening Day Cream
 Angel Placenta Whitening Cream (Tender Skin & Whitening)
Baschi Whitening Cream
 Baschi Day and Night Cream
Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Freckle-Removing Series
 Yu Yan Excellent Yest Intensive Night Cream
 Excellent Royalsuffi Fade Out Day Cream

Group photo of the 45 mercury-tainted skin whitening cosmetics procured and analyzed by the EcoWaste Coalition during test buys conducted in July-August 2013 in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Davao City.
The EcoWaste Coalition lauds the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for barring the sale of 11 more imported skin whitening products tainted with mercury through FDA Advisory 2013-053 dated 20 November 2013.  This inflates the total number of mercury-laden skin lightening creams prohibited by the agency - from 2010 to date - to 104 products. Banning over a hundred mercury-containing cosmetics is a public health achievement that can earn the Philippine government a Guinness World Record.

These 11 newly-proscribed cosmetics were among the 45 mercury-laced skin whitening creams that the group obtained in test buys conducted between July 22 to August 17, 2013 in Metro Manila, Cebu City and Davao City and consequently submitted to the FDA for confirmatory laboratory analysis:

1. Angel Placenta Whitening Cream (Tender Skin & Whitening)
2. Erna Whitening Cream
3. Gemli Beauty Series Freckles Cream Plus Placenta Extract
4. Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream
5. Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling & Whitening Cream
6. LMSER Whitening Cream
7. Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream Plus Complex Vitamin C & E
8. Top Shirley Nourishing Cream
9. White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence & Powerful Spot Remover
10.Zhjren Whitening Ruddy Combination Suit
11. Zhjren 7 Day Beauty Elegant Moisturizing & Whitening Day Cream

In addition, the FDA prohibited the sale of five more products for failure to obtain prior market authorization or notification from the agency:

1. Baschi Day and Night Cream
2. Baschi Whitening Cream
3. Excellent Royalsuffi Fade Out Day Cream
4. Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Freckle-Removing Series
5. Yu Yan Excellent Yest Intensive Night Cream

We commend the agency for taking action against mercury-laden cosmetics, which is a health threat to users and non-users alike and to the environment.   According to a UNEP publication on "Mercury in Products and Wastes, “mercury use in cosmetic products can have adverse effects including skin rashes (contact dermatitis and acne venenata), discolouring and scarring (post inflammatory dyschromia), and can reduce skin’s resistance to bacterial and mycotic skin disorders,” while “direct and prolonged exposure through the skin during repeated applications can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys.”

Removing mercury-tainted cosmetics in the market augurs well for our government’s backing of the Minamata Convention on Mercury that was signed by Environment Secretary Ramon J.P. Paje at a UN Diplomatic Conference held in Japan last month.  The global treaty provides controls and reductions across a range of products (including cosmetics), processes and industries where mercury is used, released or emitted.

As an advocate for chemical safety and zero waste, the EcoWaste Coalition will continue to keep track of and make noise about hazardous substances in products and wastes to protect the Filipino people, especially our women, children, workers and other vulnerable sectors, against toxic exposure.

By Aileen Lucero
National Coordinator
EcoWaste Coalition
21 November 2013

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