EcoWaste Coalition Flags Concerns Over Sale of Unauthorized Goods at “Presyong Divisoria” Retail Stores
27 February 2021, Quezon City. “Pasok mga suki, presyong Divisoria, sampu-sampu, bente, trenta at iba pa…”
A watchdog group has alerted consumers, as well as health and trade regulators, over the sale of unauthorized or uncertified products at “presyong Divisoria” retail stores that can pose risk to users’ health and the environment.
“Presyong Divisoria” all-in-one retail stores, which have sprouted in Metro Manila and other urban centers, are quite popular among budget and discount shoppers in need of cosmetics, electronics, hand tools, kitchenware, school supplies, toys and other miscellaneous items within their means.
“While these stores carry a range of affordable items that people use on a daily basis, some of the products being sold there may lack the needed authorization or certification that can put the health and well-being of consumers at risk,” observed Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Regardless of where you shop -- offline or online -- consumers should be wary of the quality and safety of unauthorized or uncertified products that have not undergone the evaluation procedures as required by law,” he said.
Test buys conducted by the group from February 22-25 indicated the unlawful sale of products requiring prior market authorization or certification at “presyong Divisoria” stores in Caloocan, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Pasay and Quezon Cities.
Examples of these problematic goods include:
- A lipstick that sells for P40 per canister that is laced with 6,609 parts per million (ppm) of lead, a potent neurotoxin;
- A painting kit that includes brushes with yellow coated handles containing up to 10,500 ppm of lead, a chemical banned in the production of paints;
- A pack of baby wipes worth P25 that lists banned preservatives MCI and MIT, which are known to cause contact dermatitis, among its ingredients;
- A set of artificial nails bought for P45 that comes with an adhesive containing dibutyl phthalate, an endocrine disrupting chemical banned in cosmetic products;
- A plastic hair band sold for P15 that is laden with 5,564 ppm of bromine, 1,304 ppm of antimony and 137 ppm of lead;
- A baby feeding bottle worth P25 and other unnotified childcare articles and toys; and
- An anti-cockroach chalk costing P10 and other unregistered pesticide products for household use.
The EcoWaste Coalition also managed to buy drugs and medical devices, including antiseptic plastic strips, face masks, medicated oil and topical ointment, that are not notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Cosmetics, drugs, medical devices, toys and childcare articles, and household/urban hazardous substances need to have prior authorization from the FDA in the form of a Certificate of Product Notification (CPN) or Certificate of Product Registration (CPN) before placing them in the market. Concerned establishments also need to secure a license to operate (LTO).
The group also found unlabeled electrical and electronic products such as lighting and wiring devices like lamp holders, plugs and sockets whose compliance to appropriate Philippine National Standards (PNS) is doubtful.
Some of the products regulated by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) like electrical and electronic products fall under the Bureau of Philippine Standards (BPS) mandatory product certification schemes.
“Health and trade regulators should monitor the operations of ‘presyong Divisoria” retailers and ensure that products being sold in such stores are not only cheap, but also compliant to applicable health, safety and environmental standards. Consumers need to be assured of access to affordable and non-hazardous products,” the EcoWaste Coalition said.
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/648667/FDA%20Advisory%20No.%202020-119.pdf (Dong Bang Baby Tender Baby Wipes)
https://www.fda.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/FDA-Advisory-No.2021-0011.pdf (AiDeLai Disposable Face Mask)
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/240262/FDA%20Advisory%202015-019%20EN.pdf (unregistered drug products)
https://ww2.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/429258/FDA%20Advisory%20No.%202017-075.pdf (Miraculous Insecticide Chalk)