07 February 2018

Group Urges Online Shopping Sites to Remove Ads for Mercury-Tainted Skin Whitening Cosmetics from Pakistan Banned by the FDA

 Screenshot from Lazada.ph
 Screenshot from OLX.ph
 Banned Goree cosmetics on sale in Divisoria.

Banned Feique and Goree cosmetics on sale in Quiapo.

A non-profit group promoting public health and safety  appealed to e-shopping websites to delete posts by third party sellers advertising banned skin lightening products from Pakistan that are laden with toxic mercury.

Through a press statement, the EcoWaste Coalition urged Lazada and OLX to immediately delist the numerous advertisements for “Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado & Aloe Vera” and “Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream” for the protection of their valued customers.

Last October 30, 2017, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Advisory No. 2017-289 warning the public against the purchase and use of the above Goree cosmetics after finding mercury, a harmful chemical that is not allowed in cosmetic product formulations, above the maximum trace amount of one part per million (ppm).

“(These) products have not gone through the verification process of the agency and have not been issued the proper authorization in the form of acknowledged cosmetic notifications,” the advisory said. 

“We request the management of Lazada, OLX and other online shopping platforms not to allow their sites to be used for the unlawful sale of consumer products such as cosmetics that have not passed the quality and safety verification by the authorities,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“The ban on the sale of products containing health and environmentally-damaging chemicals such as mercury also applies to the online marketplace and should be strictly followed,” he pointed out.

Test buys carried out by the EcoWaste Coalition last month found the banned Goree products  being sold by retailers of cosmetics and Chinese drugs in Divisoria and Quiapo, Manila in blatant defiance of the FDA’s order “not to distribute the violative cosmetic products 

Chemical screening conducted by the group using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device detected 25,300 ppm of mercury in Goree Beauty Cream and 21,800 ppm of mercury in the Goree Whitening Cream, way above the maximum allowable limit of 1 ppm. 

According to the FDA advisory, “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetics products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring. Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“The transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopment deficits later in life,” the FDA warned.

“We expect both Lazada and OLX to take swift action in response to our urgent request like what they did in 2015,” he added.

The EcoWaste Coalition recalled Lazada and OLX in 2015, upon the request of the group, speedily removed ads of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics, as well as fat-burning slimming products with sibutramine and other restricted ingredients.


Links to Lazada and OLX ads selling the banned Goree products:

Link to FDA Advisory No. 2017-289:


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