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BALITANG TOKSIK! – Mercury-added Skin Lightening Products Still Sold in Cubao, Quezon City

Mercury-added SLPs in Cubao QC

Three unauthorized mercury-added skin whitening creams, Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado & Aloe Vera, Goree Day & Night Whitening Cream Oil Free, and C Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream, banned by the Food and Drug Administration are still being sold in Quezon City.

In the recent test buy of toxic and waste watchdog group BAN Toxics conducted on August 5, the group were able to purchase Goree products and Collagen Plus cream, with prices ranging from 250 to 300 pesos, in beauty and health shops in Cubao, Quezon City.

FDA issued Advisory No. 2017-289, a public health warning against the use of unnotified cosmetic products that were tested and found to contain toxic mercury (Hg) levels beyond the 1 ppm (part per million) limit set by the agency, and as published in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

In March 2021, the FDA issued Advisory No. 2021-0646, a public health warning against the purchase and use of unnotified cosmetic product “C Collagen Plus.”

Quezon City also issued Ordinance No. SP-2767, S-2018 which bans the manufacture and sale of mercury-added cosmetic products in the city. The ordinance was enacted to ensure strict compliance by business and commercial establishments, as well as street “tiangge” and online vendors, to the national regulation banning the sale of cosmetics containing mercury above the one ppm limit set by the FDA in line with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

“We are saddened that despite the public health advisories issued by FDA and the QC Ordinance banning mercury-added skin lightening creams, the business-as-usual norm continues,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.

According to Section 6 of the Quezon City Ordinance, any violation of this ordinance shall be punishable as follows:

  1. First Offense – A fine of two thousand pesos (Php 2,000.00) and confiscation of banned cosmetic products.
  2. Second Offense – A fine of three thousand pesos (Php 3,000.00) and suspension to operate business until compliance with this Ordinance.
  3. Third Offense – A fine of five thousand pesos (Php 5,000.00), imprisonment of thirty (30) days or cancellation of business license given by the City, or both, at the direction of the court.

Mercury is considered as one of the top ten chemicals of major public health concern.

According to the FDA, potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product or from the contamination of heavy metals. The use of substandard and possibly adulterated cosmetic products may result in adverse reactions, including but not limited to skin irritation, itchiness, anaphylactic shock, and organ failure.

The public is advised not to purchase the aforementioned violative cosmetic product. Always check if a product is notified with the FDA. All concerned establishments are warned not to distribute violative cosmetic products until they have fully complied with the rules and regulation of the FDA.

“We call the attention of Mayor Joy Belmonte to seize and confiscate the illegal mercury-added skin lightening creams being sold in her jurisdiction. We further recommend reviewing the 4-year old Ordinance Implementing Rules and Regulation to ensure strict compliance of all involved stakeholders,” BAN Toxics added.

BAN Toxics
BAN Toxics is an environmental organization that works for the advancement of environmental justice, health, and sustainable development in the area of chemicals and wastes, with a special focus on women, children, and other marginalized sectors.