EcoWaste Coalition Backs Indonesia's Crack Down on Toxic Lipsticks

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog, has thrown its support behind the move by the Indonesian health authorities to ban hazardous lipsticks with arsenic and lead content that were first banned in the Philippines last year.

Through Public Warning No. HM., Indonesia’s National Agency for Drug and Food Control (Badan POM) banned 20 lipsticks for violating the arsenic and lead limits under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive at 5 and 20 parts per million (ppm), respectively.

“These are the same lipsticks that our own government banned in 2014 after confirming their arsenic and lead content as reported by our group,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition.

Through Advisory No. 2014-031,  the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) of the Philippines banned 20 lipsticks for exceeding the arsenic and lead limits for cosmetics.

The 20 banned cosmetics are variants of Baolishi, Chanleevi, Kiss Beauty, Miss Beauty and Monaliza lipsticks; 18 were banned for containing lead and 2 for arsenic above the maximum allowable limits. .

“We are delighted to see regulatory agencies in Indonesia and the Philippines taking identical action to protect consumers against unregistered cosmetics with dangerous levels of toxic metals,” Lucero said.

“Such action by Badan POM and FDA would surely bolster the implementation of the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive,” she said.

“This, we believe, would make it harder for illegal traders to evade the required cosmetics notification procedures and dump their dangerous goods into the informal market in Divisoria and elsewhere,”  she added.

“We hope to see more inter-country collaboration and synergy in the enforcement of health regulations as the ASEAN moves towards increased market integration in 2015,” she stated.

The EcoWaste Coalition belatedly learned about the Badan POM’s initiative from Gita Pertiwi (an Indonesian environmental NGO), which provided the group with a copy of the aforementioned Public Warning last April 21.

Both the EcoWaste Coalition and Gita Pertiwi took part in the "IPEN Asian NGO Gathering" held in Jakarta, Indonesia on April 16-18 that, among other things, discussed and expanded the participants' understanding of important international chemical policy developments for a toxics-free future.    

Badan POM’s Public Warning issued in December 2014 prohibits the sale of 68 cosmetics, including lipsticks laced with arsenic and lead and facial skin whitening creams laden with hydroquinone and mercury.