27 August 2014

EcoWaste Coalition: Toxic Counterfeit Cosmetics: A Costly Choice for Your Health and Wallet

Counterfeit cosmetics are cheaper and pleasing to the purse, but may be laden with hazardous ingredients that can result to long-term ailments and hefty medical bills, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, warned.

Taking its cue from a recent US news report about excessive lead in a counterfeit version of a “MAC Mineralize Skinfinish “compact powder, the group went to 999 Shopping Mall in Divisoria, Manila on August 25 and bought a fake MAC for P150.

The original version of the said item, which has the obligatory product notification from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), sells for P2,050 from an official MAC store at TriNoma Shopping Mall in Quezon City, the group said.

Based on the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) screening conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, the counterfeit MAC compact foundation had 997 parts per million (ppm) of lead, way above the 20 ppm limit under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive.

Lead, a neurological and reproductive toxin and endocrine disrupting chemical, is strictly prohibited in the manufacturing of cosmetics under the Chemical Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources last December 2013.

“We make this information known to the public not to endorse any company or product line, but to educate and alert our consumers, both women and men, about the health risks of using toxic cosmetics and personal care products,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Cosmetics, be it an original or imitation, should not contain harmful ingredients and impurities that can cause allergies, infections and other more serious damage to the body, and endanger a person’s reproductive health,” she pointed out.   

Citing information from the website of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Lucero reiterated that “lead is a well-known and proven neurotoxin that has been linked to learning, language and behavioral problems and has been linked to reduced fertility in both men  and women, hormonal changes and menstrual irregularities.”

“Pregnant women are especially vulnerable because lead crosses the placenta and may enter the fetal brain, and (lead exposure) has also been linked to miscarriage,” said the non-profit coalition that is based at the Breast Cancer Fund in US.   

To avoid toxic exposure via cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to:

- Buy from a licensed retailer, not from unauthorized sidewalk vendors, mall stalls, online dealers and other unofficial traders, and get a valid receipt.
- Check the FDA website at www.fda.gov.ph to confirm if the product is duly registered.

- Have doubts about the authenticity of the product if its price is drastically cheaper.

- Scrutinize the product packaging and note any difference in color, font or design.

- Carefully read the product information, including the ingredients, batch number and manufacturing details.




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