As the 8.8 Sale Gets Underway, EcoWaste Coalition Calls Out Online Vendors for Selling Banned Skin Cosmetics

The EcoWaste Coalition has denounced the flagrant sale by online vendors of an unauthorized skin care product set despite a public health warning issued by the country’s cosmetic regulatory agency.

Last March 24, 2021, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued Advisory 2021-0646 warning the public against the purchase and use of an unauthorized skin care product set consisting of Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream, Collagen Plus Vit C & E Soap and Collagen Plus Vit C & E Toner.

“In spite of the prohibition against their sale, we found to our dismay dozens of advertisements for these unauthorized cosmetics by third party wholesalers and retailers in leading online shopping platforms,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition. 

The group came across the ads for the products in question on August 7 on the eve of the 8.8. online shopping sale at Lazada and Shopee.

“We are particularly concerned with the sale of Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream, which we have analyzed in the past and found to be contaminated with high levels of mercury, a harmful substance banned in cosmetics,” he added. 

“A similar product that we purchased from an online dealer a few months ago, for example, had 6,097 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, surpassing the 1 ppm trace amount limit for mercury in cosmetics,” he pointed out.

The Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream is also among the unauthorized products seized in 2018 by Indonesia's National Agency of Drug and Food Control (Badan POM) for lacking notification and for containing banned substances such as hydroquinone and mercury, the group noted.

To protect online consumers against hazardous products, the EcoWaste Coalition urged online shopping platforms to disallow the use of their sites for trading unauthorized cosmetics like skin bleaching, lightening or whitening creams that may be contaminated with mercury and other banned substances.  

“Please remove the unlawful ads at once and take action against errant dealers,” appealed Dizon

As verified by the FDA through post-marketing surveillance, the said Collagen products had no valid certificates of product notification. Republic Act 9711, or the FDA Act of 2009, prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, sale, promotion and advertising of any health product without due authorization from the agency.

As the products in question have not complied with the required notification process, the FDA cannot assure consumers of their quality and safety.  The use of such violative products, the FDA warned, may pose health risks to consumers.

The EcoWaste Coalition last March 2021 published a report titled “Toxic Exposé: Online Trade of Mercury-Containing Skin Whitening Cosmetics in the Philippines”  documenting the unlawful use of online shopping and social media platforms to sell skin bleaching, lightening or whitening products with undisclosed mercury content.

Of the 65 samples bought from online dealers, 40 were found to contain mercury in excess of the regulatory limit of 1 ppm and would be illegal to sell, the group reported.

In view of its findings, the EcoWaste Coalition had requested concerned parties, especially e-commerce giants, to ban the sale of adulterated, counterfeit and unauthorized cosmetic products and bar dealers from using their platforms.



Examples of products ads for Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream and related products (downloaded on August 7, 2021):