22 of the 24 skin whitening facial creams laden with mercury (above); 3 lipsticks laced with lead (below)
The EcoWaste Coalition, an environmental and health watchdog, urged consumers not to patronize the 37 unregistered cosmetics recently banned by the government, including 28 products that tested positive for toxic lead and mercury.
The 37 cosmetics products, all illegal imports, were submitted by the EcoWaste Coalition to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) for confirmatory analysis and subsequently banned under FDA Advisory 2015-025.
The group obtained the contraband goods from mainland China, Hong Kong and Indonesia during a nationwide market investigation supported by IPEN, a global civil society network promoting safer chemicals policies and practices, to gather evidence to back the early ratification and implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
The group bought the samples from Chinese drug stores, beauty and herbal product retailers and general merchandise stores in 50 cities in Luzon, Visayas, Mindanao and the National Capital Region.
“Sustained vigilance is essential to ensure that the unlawful trade of cosmetics laced with lead, mercury and other harmful substances does not thrive, dupe and harm the consuming public,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Lead and mercury are neurotoxicants and recognized by the World Health Organization as among the "ten chemicals of major public health concern."
"For the sake of their health and safety, consumers should heed FDA's latest advisory and refrain from buying unregistered cosmetics that could be loaded with health-damaging contaminants and ingredients," she added.
Among the 28 products banned for exceeding the maximum allowable limits of 1 part per million (ppm) for mercury and 20 ppm for lead under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive were:
I. Skin Whitening Creams: Aichun Beauty Aloe Vera Whitening Speckle-Removing Series; Charm Charm; Erna (black); Feique Cucumber Anti-Wrinkle Whitening Set; Feique Rose Refining Nourishing Set; Huichundemei Extreme Whitening Deluxe Version; Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream; Jiaoli Liang Miraculous Cream; Jiaoli Herbs Essence Whitening AB Set; Jiaoli Speckle Removing and Nourishing Assembly; Lianglibai; Pan Yu Health Beautiful Whitening Removing Speckle Package; Pulanna Day and Night Cream; Qian Mei; Qubanshuang; Shengniya 7-Day Freckle Eliminating; S’zitang; S’zitang 7-Day Specific Whitening and Spot AB Set/S’zitang 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set; S’zitang 10-Day Whitening and Spot Day and Night Set; S’zitang Yangbaisu; Women of Flower Whitening and Speckle-Removing A and B Series; Xin Jiao Li 10-Day Whitening Speckles Removed Cream; Zixinmei Face Beauty Vegetable Red in White Series (pink box); and Zixinmei Face Beauty Vegetable Red in White Series (purple box)
II. Lipsticks: Ashley Shine New Formulized Moisture Lipstick #07, Kiss Beauty Professional BB Cinema Lipstick #5 and Monaliza Series Lipstick #07.
III. Whitening Spray: Daiyasi UV Resistance BB Whitening Spray
Among the 9 products that were also banned for having no FDA notification were: Ashley UV Resistance BB Whitening Spray, Qianyan Daily Night Special Anti-Speckle Beauty Cream, and 7 variants of Meiya, Miss Merry and Monaliza lipsticks.
The FDA through OIC Director Nicolas Lutero II ordered its field regulatory officers to monitor, conduct inventory and seize all cosmetics products with no certificate of product notification.
The FDA requested all local government units to ensure that cosmetics with no market authorization are not sold by ambulant and sidewalk vendors.
The FDA further requested the Bureau of Customs to remain vigilant to prevent the entry of unregistered and toxic health products in the country.