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Beauty Cream with “24K Gold Pigments” Found Contaminated with Toxic Mercury

Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream

Quezon City. All that glitters is not gold. It could be toxic to human health, as well as the environment. The EcoWaste Coalition made this revelation after detecting mercury on two samples of Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream that it ordered from an online seller based in Makati City last October 11.

Based on the screening conducted by the group using an Olympus M Vanta Series X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, one item contained 25,700 parts per million (ppm) of mercury and the other item had 25,240 ppm. Both were manufactured in January 2023, which is way past the 2020 global phase-out deadline under the Minamata Convention on Mercury for cosmetics with mercury above 1 ppm like skin lightening creams and soaps.

The product is presented as a 3-in-1 beauty formula in a small round plastic container packaged in a gold-colored square box. It carries the “Pakistan Standards” certification logo.

As indicated on the label, Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream is a “skin lightener, moisturizer and nourisher.” The “24K gold pigments” mentioned on the ingredients’ list are supposed to “give a natural and radiating look by giving (the user) a hydrated glow.”

Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream
XRF screening reveals mercury concentrations way above the 1 ppm limit under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive

“We deplore the entry of mercury-laced Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream in the local market, which is being offered for sale without proper authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Like its cousins Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream, which the FDA banned in 2017, this product may have toxic effects on the skin, brain and nervous system, kidneys and even the eyes because of its secret mercury additive, which can also affect the development of babies in the womb,” she said.

The two samples of Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream were delivered on October 14 and screened for mercury on October 15. Recognizing the urgency of an official advice from the authorities, the group immediately reported its findings to the FDA.

“To alert consumers against the harm that may result from the use of this unauthorized cosmetic with mercury, we respectfully request the FDA to please issue a corresponding public health warning against the purchase and use of Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream,” Lucero wrote to the FDA.

“We thank the FDA for your continuing efforts to protect the Filipino people from health products that have not been properly assessed for their quality and safety and for their compliance to applicable standards,” she added.

Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream adds to a long list of “made in Pakistan” cosmetics with mercury that are imported, distributed and sold without FDA authorization. Aside from the three variants of Goree, high levels of mercury has been detected on samples of Aneeza Whitening Cream, Armena Gold Beauty Cream, AQME Beauty Cream, Biocos Beauty Cream, Chandni Whitening Cream, Faiza Beauty Cream, Golden Pearl Beauty Cream (old and new packaging), Jhalak Beauty Cream, Morning Face Beauty Cream, Parley Beauty Cream, Safora Beauty Cream, and Sandal Beauty Cream.

Pakistan made beauty creams
Many Pakistan-made beauty creams pose mercury exposure risk and should be avoided.

Last February 16, 2023, the EcoWaste Coalition wrote to then Federal Minister on Climate Change Sherry Rehman to request the Pakistani government to take action to stop the production and export of cosmetics containing mercury.

“We respectfully appeal to the Government of Pakistan to intensify current efforts to stop mercury use in the manufacture of cosmetics such as fairness or whitening creams, strengthen compliance monitoring, correct the misuse of “Pakistan Standards” certification logo, and tighten customs checks to halt the export of mercury adulterated cosmetics to the Philippines and elsewhere,” the group wrote.

EcoWaste Coalition
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