Home>Lifestyle>EcoWaste Coalition Asks CDO City Mayor to Clear Cogon Market of Dangerous Cosmetics with Mercury

EcoWaste Coalition Asks CDO City Mayor to Clear Cogon Market of Dangerous Cosmetics with Mercury

Goree beauty cream

Quezon City. In an e-mail sent today, the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition urged the City Government of Cagayan de Oro to conduct law enforcement operations to break the unbridled trade of dangerous cosmetics with mercury in the city.

“We appeal to Mayor Klarex Uy, a distinguished public servant, to clear Cogon Market and adjacent retail centers of contraband beauty products laden with mercury, a toxic chemical not permitted in cosmetics such as skin lightening facial creams,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Goree beauty cream
Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition checks the label of Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene, which the FDA banned in 2017

“Law enforcement operations led by the local government, health and police authorities in coordination with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) field office in Region X will surely help in stopping this illicit trade of unauthorized cosmetics, which is poisoning human health and the environment with mercury,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition’s appeal to the city government comes on the heels of the group’s recent market monitoring, which is part and parcel of the intensified campaign to protect people’s health, especially the health of women, from being harmed by chemical whiteners often sourced from abroad.

Last Sunday, February 25, two staff of the EcoWaste Coalition visited Cogon Market and the nearby Angel Chavez Commercial Complex and took photos of contraband cosmetics sold openly as if these products are lawful to sell and safe to use.

“During our visit to Cogon Market, we were shocked to find cosmetics that have long been identified by the FDA as causing imminent danger or injury for containing mercury above the regulatory limit of one part per million (ppm),” said Lucero.

Facial creams
Mercury-laced Jiaoli and S’Zitang facial creams are openly sold at Cogon Market despite the FDA-issued public health warnings

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and Jiaoli 7-Days Eliminating Freckle AB Set were among the 27 mercury-containing cosmetic products banned by the FDA in 2010, warning these products “pose imminent danger or injury to the consuming public.”

Also found on sale in Cogon Market are S’Zitang 7 Days Specific Whitening & Spot-AB Set and S’Zitang 10 Days Whitening & Spot- Day Night Set, which the FDA banned in 2015.

The Jiaoli and S’Zitang products are manufactured in China.

“What we find most worrisome is the sale of highly contaminated Goree Beauty Cream, which the FDA banned through multiple advisories releases in 2017 and 2023,” said Lucero.

FDA-banned Goree Beauty Cream, available in three variants, are made in Pakistan.

To demonstrate how adulterated these products are, the EcoWaste Coalition purchased two product samples and had them analyzed using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, which can detect and measure elements like mercury.

Goree beauty cream
A sample of Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene purchased in Cagayan de Oro City contains 2.636 percent or 26,360 ppm of mercury, way in excess of the 1 ppm limit

According to the XRF screening results, Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene contained 26,360 ppm of mercury, while Jiaoli 7 Days Eliminating Freckle AB Set had 531 ppm (day cream) and 551 ppm (night cream) of mercury.

“Mercury is hazardous to human health,” the group wrote in their letter to Mayor Uy.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “adverse health effects of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening creams and soaps include: kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections , anxiety, depression, psychosis and peripheral neuropathy .”

“Mercury in soaps, creams and other cosmetic products is eventually discharged into waste water. The mercury then enters the environment, where it becomes methylated and can enter the food chain as highly toxic methylmercury in fish. Pregnant women who consume fish containing methylmercury can transfer the mercury to their fetuses, which can result in neurodevelopmental deficits in the children,” said the WHO.

Aside from sustained law enforcement activities, the EcoWaste Coalition further suggested to the city government to campaign for “Brown Is Beautiful” to promote appreciation and acceptance of one’s natural skin color among the citizens of Cagayan de Oro City and the rest of Misamis Oriental. “This, we hope, will entice Mindanaoans not to use chemical skin whiteners, particularly those adulterated with mercury and other hazardous substances.”



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