Quezon City. The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition has alerted the Marikina City Government regarding the illegal trade of dangerous skin whitening cosmetics, which the health authorities prohibited in 2017 to protect consumers against mercury exposure.
Through a letter e-mailed today, the group notified the office of Marikina City Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro about the unlawful sale of two variants of unauthorized Goree Beauty Cream, which the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) banned in 2017 for exceeding the one part per million (ppm) limit for mercury in cosmetics.
Based on the market monitoring conducted by the group last Sunday, at least three cosmetic product retail stores located along Shoe Avenue and Sumulong Highway are selling Pakistan-made Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream despite the ban.
The group conducted the monitoring prior to the highly successful e-waste collection concert held at the Marikina Sports Center that was graced by District 1 Representative Marjorie Ann Teodoro.
“The sale of banned Goree cosmetics in the city center is worrisome as these products are known to be adulterated with high concentrations of mercury that can damage human health,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “We urge Mayor Marcy to cut the illegal trade and ensure Marikeños are not poisoned by these contaminated skin whiteners.”
The FDA through Advisory 2017-289 advised the public not to purchase and use the violative products after testing positive for mercury above the 1 ppm limit.
Concerned establishments were further warned by the FDA not to distribute the said products, or face regulatory actions or sanctions.
Despite the public health warning issued by the FDA, as well as by other governments, mercury-containing Goree Beauty Creams continue to flood the market, including online shopping platforms, the EcoWaste Coalition lamented.
“Local government units (LGUs) have an essential role to play in the uphill task of eliminating cosmetics with mercury content. Knowing Mayor Marcy’s commitment to protecting public health, we expect his office to take decisive action against these dangerous cosmetics anytime soon,” said Lucero. “As our monitoring was limited to the city center, we encourage the authorities to visit other locations within their area of jurisdiction.”
As stated in the said FDA advisory, “mercury salts in cosmetic products inhibit the formation of skin melanin which will result in lighter skin tone.”
Among the “adverse health effects” resulting from mercury exposure through the application of such products are “kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring,” the advisory said.
“Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections,” the advisory pointed out. “Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis, and peripheral neuropathy.”
“The transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopmental deficits later in life,” the advisory added.