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Health and Wellness

Toxic Cosmetic Recalled by Austria from End Users Is Sold in the Philippines

Golden Pearl Beauty Cream

4 August 2023, Quezon City. A product that claims to be “the best skin whitening cream formulation” has been banned in Austria for containing mercury, which is prohibited in cosmetics such as skin whiteners.

According to Alert No. A12/01775/23 published today, August 4, in Safety Gate, the European Union’s rapid alert system for dangerous non-food products, the Austrian government ordered the “recall of the product from end users” as it contains mercury. The order took effect on July 19, 2023.

Mercury, the alert said, “accumulates in the body and can damage the kidneys, brain and nervous system,” adding “it may affect reproduction and the unborn child.”

Last July 17, the EcoWaste Coalition urged Filipino women aspiring for a fairer skin tone to desist from using the Golden Pearl Beauty Cream, which has been the subject of two advisories issued by the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA Advisory No. 2013-053-A as amended in 2014 banned Golden Pearl Beauty Cream (old packaging) for containing mercury above the permissible limit of one part per million (ppm) set by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive (ACD).

Several years later, the FDA issued Advisory No. 2021-3060 banning the distribution and sale of Golden Pearl Beauty Cream (new packaging) for lacking proper authorization from the agency.

Both advisories were prompted by the product monitoring reports submitted by the EcoWaste Coalition to the FDA, which has been encouraging the public to report any distribution and sale of violative products, as well as any complaint and adverse event resulting from the use of such products.

Golden Pearl Beauty Cream

Based on the group’s relentless market monitoring, banned Golden Pearl Beauty Cream can still be purchased from some online sellers and from stores selling beauty and herbal products, posing chemical risks to consumers and members of their household, especially young children.

“To avoid exposure to mercury and other hazardous substances, we urge our women and others to steer clear of chemical whiteners and to accept our natural skin tone,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “All skin colors are beautiful, and should be respected and not discriminated upon.”

“Women, who are the main target market of cosmetics that claim to lighten the skin, fight ageing and treat acne, pimples and other dermal problems, are highly vulnerable to the toxic effects of mercury exposure, especially if they are of child bearing age,” warned Lucero.

Cases of mercury intoxication due to the use of mercury-adulterated cosmetics have been documented such as the case of a woman in California who fell into coma in 2019, and, most recently, a woman in Minnesota who was reported in 2022 for suffering from partial vision loss due to prolonged use of skin lightening products with mercury content, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

The group is pushing for the strict implementation of the global ban on mercury in cosmetics such as skin lightening products as per the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which entered into force on August 16, 2017.


Link to EU Safety Gate Alert

Links to FDA Advisories


FDA Advisory No.2021-3060 || Public Health Warning Against the Purchase and Use of Unauthorized Cosmetic GOLDEN PEARL BEAUTY CREAM

Links to Online Product Listings:



EcoWaste Coalition
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