The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, today revealed two of the four skin whitening creams that health authorities in California, USA asked consumers not to use due to its mercury content are being sold in Metro Manila.
In fact sheets issued in Tagalog and other languages, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) warned consumers against using Jiaoli 7 Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set, Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and two other mercury-containing skin lightening creams.
The July 2014 issue of the CDPH-published Occupational Health Watch highlighted the fact sheets in multiple languages such as Chinese, English, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
“These Jiaoli products are among the over 100 skin whitening cosmetics banned by our government for containing excessive levels of highly toxic mercury,” stated Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Since 2010 to date, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has banned 104 skin lightening cosmetics from mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand and USA for containing mercury above the allowable limit of 1 part per million (ppm).
“The unscrupulous traders behind the continued sale of Jiaoli and other dangerous cosmetics are raking in profits at the expense of public health and the environment,” observed Lucero.
According to the CDPH, “Ang asoge ay nakakalason na kemikal. Natagpuan na ito sa mga pamahid sa mukha na ginagamit para pumuti ang balat, panggagamot ng tagihawat, at pagtatanggal ng pangingitim ng balat, peklat, o pekas.” (“Mercury is a toxic chemical. It has been found in face creams used to lighten or bleach skin, treat acne,and fade age spots, blemishes, or freckles.”)
“Maaaring maging mapanganib ang mga pamahid na naglalaman ng asoge para sa sinumang nakatira sa bahay kung saan ito ginagamit. Kumakalat ang asoge mula sa mga kamay ng sinumang gumagamit ng pamahid tungo sa ibang mga bagay na kanyang nahahawakan. Pagkatapos, mapupunta sa hangin ang asoge at maaari itong malanghap ng sinuman na nasa loob ng bahay,” the CDPH warned. (“Creams that contain mercury can be dangerous for anyone living in the home where they are used. The mercury spreads from the hands of anyone using the cream to other things they touch. Mercury then gets into the air and anyone in the home can breathe it in.”)
CDPH identified the following as common signs of mercury poisoning: irritability, bad moods, or depression; nervousness or shyness; memory problems or difficulty concentrating; feeling very tired; tremors, shaking, or weakness; and tingling or numbness in hands, feet, or around the mouth.
Early this year, CDPH tested over 100 imported skin lightening creams and other products obtained from San Francisco Bay Area stores for mercury content.