Env’t NGO ask authorities to ban toxic cosmetics in Baguio

By SHERWIN DE VERA
www.nordis.net

BAGUIO CITY — An environmental group asked the city authorities to curb the sale of beauty products containing toxic metals.

On September 3, the EcoWaste Coalition emailed Mayor Mauricio Domogan to report that cosmetic products laden with lead and mercury are sold in some establishments in the city.

“Your immediate action will protect the health of your constituents, particularly women and girls, from being exposed to these dangerous substances,” wrote Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

He pointed out that the city’s removal of the contaminated cosmetics from the local market will significantly boost the Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to rid of the hazardous contrabands.

The group procured from Hayden & Jerry Herbal & General Merchandise, Jian Ling General Merchandise and Pao Pao Herbal & Beauty Products six skin whitening creams and two lipsticks on September 1. The items were found to contain outrageous amounts of heavy metal contaminants using a handheld X-ray Fluorescence analytical device.

Lead content of the two counterfeit Mariah Carey lipsticks reached 11,200 ppm and 42,800 ppm of lead. The product also tested positive for arsenic, chromium and mercury above the prescribed level. While the whitening creams have 319 to 3,863 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, two of the which, Jiaoli and S’Zitang brands, were already banned by FDA.

The level allowed for mercury, lead, and cadmium and arsenic in cosmetic products are 1ppm, 20 ppm and 5 ppm respectively, under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive. The Philippines is also a signatory of the Minamata Convention on Mercury that mandates the government to halt the use of cosmetics containing mercury above 1 ppm.

Sample products acquired by the group also lack the “required market authorization from the FDA in the form of a cosmetic product notification” making the sale of the products illegal.

The EcoWaste Coalition also alerted the FDA in July of Hashmi eyeliners (Kohl and Surma) which they tested positive for heavy metals. Samples were acquired from stores near the Golden Mosque in Quiapo, Manila. Both contain 100,000 ppm of lead, with the Hashimi Kohl having 20,300 of arsenic and 6,915 of cadmium, and Hashimi Surma with 21,200 ppm of arsenic and 6,915 of cadmium.

The World Health Organization considers lead and mercury among the “ten chemicals of major public health concern.” While the Department of Environment and Natural Resources included the chemicals among the 48 priority that “potentially pose unreasonable risk” to the people. Exposure to these elements are known to cause serious health problems, birth defects, and cumulative amounts can lead to death.# nordis.net

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