Baguio City council lauded for banning toxic whitening products

September 08, 2019

Environment-advocate group EcoWaste Coalition lauded the Baguio City council for enacting an  ordinance banning mercury-laden  skin whitening cosmetics in the city.

The group’s Chemical Safety campaigner Thony Dizon said  Councilor Philian Weygan-Allan told the  group through an email that they  “all agreed that they need to pass the ordinance and they need more advocates.”

The council’s Committee on Market, Trade, Commerce and Agriculture chaired by Allan conducted on Sept. 4 the first public hearing of the proposed ordinance filed by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan after being certified as “urgent” by Mayor Benjamin Magalong last July 18.

The public hearing was attended by stakeholders from the regional offices of the Departments of  Health, Environment and Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry, as well as representatives from the private sector, including business establishments and shopping malls.

Dizon said  Allan thanked the group for its “work and commitment” that brought the matter to the attention of the city authorities.

“We are pleased with the progress made so far by the City Council to legislate an ordinance that will soon make the illegal trade of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in Baguio City a thing of the past,” Dizon said.

“The anticipated approval and enforcement of the ordinance will serve as Baguio City’s contribution to the looming global phase-out by 2020 of skin whitening cosmetics with mercury content above one part per million (ppm),” he added.

Dizon explained that the Minamata Convention of Mercury, which the Philippine government signed on October 10, 2013, listed cosmetics such as skin lightening soaps and creams containing mercury above 1 ppm among the mercury-added products (MAPs) to be phased out by 2020.

The DENR, with inputs from public and private sector stakeholders and  support from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization and the Swiss Government, has developed a “National Action Plan (NAP) for the Phase-Out of MAPs and the Management of the Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes.”