Facial Creams Found to Contain Lead and Mercury by New Zealand Health Authorities Are Also Sold in the Philippines – EcoWaste Coalition

Beware: The New Zealand health authorities have warned consumers against using three products marketed as skin whitening beauty creams for containing toxic lead and mercury.  These products, which are already banned in the Philippines, are still sold in some retail stores and online shopping sites.

Through an “alert communication” issued yesterday, December 22, the New Zealand Medicines and Medical Devices Safety Authority (or Medsafe) which is a business unit of the Ministry of Health, told consumers not to use Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene, Goree Day and Night Beauty Cream Oil Free, and Golden Pearl Beauty Cream.

The three products were laboratory tested, and found to contain mercury and lead “at levels that would make them prescription medicines.”

“These products contain mercury, which is dangerous to your health. It may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes. It can also affect the development of unborn babies,’ Medsafe warned, adding that “these products also contain lead which may also affect your health.”  According to Medsafe, “lead poisoning may affect neurological development in children, and affect the gastrointestinal and nervous systems and have other effects in adults.”

“The alert issued by New Zealand’s Medsafe further justifies the Philippine ban on the said mercury-laced beauty creams and the need for tougher action to stop their entry into our ports and their eventual sale by offline and online vendors,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“New Zealand’s detection of ‘high levels of lead’ on these skin whitening cosmetics indicates the importance of testing samples not only for mercury but also for other hazardous substances not permitted in cosmetics,” he added.

To recall, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued public health warnings through Advisory No. 2013-053-A against Golden Pearl Beauty Cream and Advisory No. 2017-289 against the two Goree Beauty Creams.  The agency most recently issued Advisory No.  2021-3060 against Golden Pearl Beauty Cream, which now comes in a new packaging design.

Despite the ban, the three beauty creams, which are manufactured in Pakistan as stated on their labels, are still offered for sale in online shopping platforms and in beauty and herbal product stores located in some shopping malls.

“This morning alone, we saw numerous online product advertisements for Golden Pearl and Goree Beauty Creams in both Lazada and Shopee despite the FDA’s public health warnings and the EcoWaste Coalition’s repeated calls to have the products delisted,” Dizon said.  “This has to stop in line with the 2020 global phase-out deadline for mercury-added cosmetics.”

Skin whitening products containing mercury above one part per million (ppm) are among the mercury-added products whose manufacture, import and export was phased out in 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which counts on the Philippines among the 137 state parties.

To prevent mercury exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition advised the public to shun skin whitening cosmetics containing mercury, which is often not declared on product labels.

“The safest protection is not to use chemical whiteners at all, and to simply love and be proud of our natural skin color,” Dizon pointed out.


Examples of online products ads as downloaded on 23 December 2021, 8:00 am: