Advocacy Cosmetics Health and Safety Toxic Products

EcoWaste Coalition Calls Out E-Commerce Sites for Offering Mercury-Containing Cosmetics as 11.11 Shopping Spree Gets Into Full Swing

11 November 2019, Quezon City. As the 11.11 shopping bonanza gets underway today, a non-profit environmental and health watchdog group urged e-commerce platforms to immediately act against the illicit sale of cosmetics banned by the health authorities for containing mercury, a potent neurotoxin.

The EcoWaste Coalition called out online shopping giants Lazada and Shopee for the proliferation of advertisements by third party dealers of skin whitening products deemed “hazardous to health” due to their high mercury content.

“We are outraged by the unrestricted online sale of mercury-contaminated products that are illegal to sell in the Philippines and the ASEAN region for containing mercury above the trace amount limit of 1 part per million (ppm),” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Removing such ads for health-damaging products and sending a strong warning against their dealers are the least that online shopping sites can do to protect their customers,” he said.

The group further urged online shoppers to exercise necessary precautions and to reject “poison cosmetics” that can put their health at grave risk of mercury poisoning.

“We advise online shoppers not to spend a peso for skin whitening cosmetics containing chemical poisons such as mercury that can cause serious health problems,” Dizon said.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “the main adverse effect of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage,” adding that “mercury in skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.”

WHO lists mercury among the “10 chemicals of major public health concern.”

Among the products being offered for sale by third-party sellers at are Ailke, Goree and S’Zitang skin whitening cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition reported.

The FDA has issued several public health warnings from 2010 to 2018 against seven S’Zitang products. As per FDA Advisory 2018-183, “ S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set” was tested and found to contain toxic mercury levels above 1 ppm.

“Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A & B Cream” was among the 20 skin whitening products listed by the FDA in Advisory 2012-009 that were found to be “imminently injurious, unsafe or dangerous” for having mercury in excess of the 1 ppm limit.

FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 banned two variants of Goree skin whitening cosmetics “for containing toxic mercury levels beyond the one part per million (ppm) maximum limit.”

At, the EcoWaste Coalition found an advertisement for a banned “Jiaoli 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream.”

Skin whitening creams and soaps with mercury content above 1 ppm are among the mercury-added products targeted for global phase-out by 2020 under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

To protect public health and the environment, the Philippine government, with the participation of civil society groups like the EcoWaste Coalition, has developed and launched a “National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury Added Products and the Management of the Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes.”



Here are some of the inappropriate advertisements for mercury-laden skin whitening products found by the EcoWaste at the Lazada and Shopee online stores before 12:00 noon today: