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BAN Toxics supports Sen. Binay over glutathione ‘drip anywhere’ issue

IV glutathione

“We share Senator Nancy Binay’s concern regarding the use of intravenous (IV) glutathione due to its associated adverse health effects. The promotion of skin-lightening products and practices by public figures and influencers is troubling, as it contributes to the normalization of this practice despite scientific and medical evidence suggesting otherwise,” said Rey San Juan, Executive Director of BAN Toxics.

“Senator Binay is correct in asserting that Filipinos should always embrace and feel confident in their own skin. The promotion and use of harmful skin-whitening products, influenced by Western beauty standards perpetuated by influencers, can have detrimental effects,” San Juan explained.

BAN Toxics has expressed support for the senator regarding the issue of IV glutathione and its associated health risks. In an Instagram post that has since been removed, Mariel Padilla posted a photo of herself undergoing intravenous therapy at the Senate office, with her husband, Senator Padilla, also present in the background.

In January of this year, the Department of Health (DOH) issued a warning against the use of intravenous glutathione for skin whitening, noting that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) has not yet approved its use.

The DOH must provide additional clarity on the use of IV glutathione, particularly outside of hospital settings. Earlier this year, Secretary Teodoro Herbosa stated in a press conference that such usage is “illegal” and comparable to the use of dangerous drugs.

Except for the treatment of cisplatin chemotherapy, the FDA has consistently warned against the use of glutathione as a skin-whitening agent over the years. According to the agency, injectable glutathione for skin lightening carries risks of toxic effects on the thyroid, liver, kidneys, and nervous system, Steven Johnson Syndrome and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, along with long-term skin cancer risk. Incorrect technique in intravenous administration may also result in adverse and potentially fatal health effects.

In 2020, the Philippine Dermatological Society (PDS) also issued an advisory echoing these concerns, emphasizing that IV glutathione is a drug, not merely a nutritional supplement. The PDS explicitly stated that its unapproved use for skin lightening at very high doses is unsafe and may result in serious consequences for the user.

The chemicals and waste management NGO has been campaigning against the use of toxic chemicals in skin-lightening products. Earlier this month, BAN Toxics market monitoring revealed the rampant sale of prohibited mercury-containing skin-lightening products in onsite and online stores.

“We urge regulatory agencies to promptly investigate this matter, as there is a clear and urgent need to regulate these practices and products. Public figures and influencers should exercise due diligence and discernment, ensuring they draw a clear line between promoting products safely and potentially causing harm,” the group 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.