22 April 2016

Watchdog Welcomes New FDA Advisory Reiterating Ban on Five Cosmetic Preservatives

The EcoWaste Coalition, a watchdog group promoting consumer and environmental health, welcomed the government’s latest advisory to protect consumers from five types of parabens used as preservatives in cosmetics. 

On Tuesday, the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) issued Advisory No. 2016-032 reiterating the ban on  five parabens, namely: benzylparaben, isobutylyparaben, isopropylparaben, pentylparaben and phenylparaben.

The FDA’s action is in line with the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, which has added the above named parabens in the “list of substances which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products” in November 2014.

According to the FDA, “cosmetic products found to contain any of the five identified banned ingredients pose potential health risk to the consuming public and therefore, shall not be allowed to be placed or to remain in the Philippine market starting 1 January 2016.” 

“We support FDA’s effort to have cosmetics containing banned parabens withdrawn from the market ,” declared Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.    

“Pharmacies, supermarkets and cosmetics specialty stores should cease from selling such products that can put consumer health and safety at risk,” he said.   

Despite being given sufficient grace period that ended on 31 December 2015, the EcoWaste Coalition lamented that some sectors of the cosmetics industry have failed to comply with the said prohibition.

Test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition on various occasions from January to April, 2016 revealed that over 35 skin care, hair care and foot care cosmetics containing isobutylparaben and/or isopropyl paraben, which are among the five banned parabens, are being sold in popular retail outlets in Metro Manila. 

Most recently, the group was shocked to find 10 types of UK-manufactured “Beauty Formulas” listing isobutylparaben as an ingredient, noting that it  would be illegal to sell these items even in UK and the European Union where the ban on the five parabens took effect much earlier in July 2015.

Under the European Commission Regulation (EU) NO. 358/2014, cosmetics circulating in Europe should not contain any of the banned parabens from 30 July 2015.

The EcoWaste Coalition urged  the FDA to watch out for any attempt to illegally dispose of remaining stocks of non-compliant products by selling them at rock bottom prices.

“The authorities should take swift action against recalcitrant manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers selling cosmetics laced with banned parabens,” the group said.




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