Home>News>Provincial>Groups Laud Baguio LGU and FDA Cordillera for Joint Monitoring, Inspection and Seizure of Banned Cosmetics with Mercury

Groups Laud Baguio LGU and FDA Cordillera for Joint Monitoring, Inspection and Seizure of Banned Cosmetics with Mercury

Banned Cosmetics with Mercury
Examples of FDA-banned cosmetics from China, Pakistan and Thailand that are illegally sold in Baguio City

(Combined law enforcement action seized P138,440 worth of FDA-banned products)

Quezon City. The non-governmental groups EcoWaste Coalition and Zero Waste Baguio lauded the Baguio City Government and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Cordillera Regional Field Office for their collaborative action to curb the unlawful trade of mercury-laced beauty products in the country’s summer capital.

“We laud the City Government of Baguio and FDA Cordillera for acting on our complaint, which we filed with the sole intent of protecting human health, the health of women and children in particular, from being harmed by mercury in contraband cosmetics preying on women desiring a lighter skin tone,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“To put an end to this trade of hazardous cosmetics, we appeal to the City Council to include in their legislative agenda the enactment of an ordinance that will prohibit the trade in cosmetics laden with mercury and hold those engage in such unethical business liable,” said Beki Tenefrancia, President, Zero Waste Baguio.

In response to the complaint sent by the said groups to Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magalong on December 11 last year, the FDA Cordillera, Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) and Health Services Office (HSO), assisted by the Public Order and Safety Division (POSD), conducted law enforcement operations on February 27. Prior to this, the BPLO conducted store inspection and monitoring last December 15.

All in all, 5 staff of FDA Cordillera and 11 staff of the Baguio City Government were involved in the fruitful joint monitoring, inspection and seizure of non-compliant products last February 27, which sought to implement the ban on cosmetics such as skin lightening products containing mercury, which are banned regionally and globally as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive and Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Women's health matters

At the time the joint operations were conducted, eight out of the 10 stores reported by the EcoWaste Coalition and Zero Waste Baguio were found selling the FDA-banned cosmetics. These stores are located at Mabini Shopping Center and Maharlika Livelihood Center in the Central Business District.

Among the FDA-banned products seized from errant sellers were 382 pieces of three variants of Goree Beauty Cream (Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream and Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream), 75 pieces of two variants of Jiaoli (Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and Jiaoli 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set), and 44 pieces of 88 Total White Underarm Cream. In addition, seven boxes of Diane-35, an unregistered drug for treating severe acne, were confiscated.

Based on the FDA post-activity report prepared by Food and Drug Regulation Officer Saturnina Pandosen, a copy of which was furnished to the EcoWaste Coalition by the City Mayor’s Office, the seized products have a market value of P138,440.00.

Aside from confiscating the non-compliant products, the FDA also informed the representatives of retail establishments about the side effects of consuming the unregistered cosmetics with mercury, which can harm the brain, nervous system and kidneys, as well as damage the skin, causing blotchy spots, rashes and skin discoloration.

According to a separate inspection report prepared by BPLO, a copy was also obtained by the EcoWaste Coalition, several stores were issued notices of violation for non-compliance and non-renewal of business permits. License inspector Dexter R. Fernandez and team filed the said report.

The EcoWaste Coalition and Zero Waste Baguio urged national and local authorities, as well as the citizenry, to remain vigilant to shatter the persistent trade of banned skin lightening products with mercury to protect human health and the environment against toxic contamination.

EcoWaste Coalition
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