EcoWaste Coalition Finds Mercury-Laden Cosmetics On Sale in Guadalupe, Makati City

Some shops offering food supplements and herbal
medications in Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City are also selling
contraband cosmetics containing high levels of mercury, an extremely toxic

The EcoWaste Coalition issued this statement after buying five brands of
illegally imported skin whitening products on June 17 from three shops located
at the Guadalupe Commercial Complex and the nearby Uni Mec Supermarket.

Subsequent analysis by the group on June 18 using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence
(XRF) spectrometer detected mercury over 7,000 times higher than the allowable
limit of one part per million (ppm).

Yudantang Green Olive & Papaya Natural Essence 6 Days Specific Eliminating
Freckle Whitening Sun Block Cream registered with the highest level of mercury
at 7,618 ppm, followed by Jiaoli Miraculous Cream, 5,718 ppm, Szitang 10-Day
Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set, 4,683 ppm and JJJ Magic Spots Removing
Cream, 3,734 ppm, while
Long Dian Tu Glutathione & Pearl Natural Whitening Essence showed no
detectable mercury.

Except for Yudantang, all the samples were among those banned by the Food and
Drugs Administration (FDA) for containing excessive amounts of mercury. Jiaoli,
for instance, was banned as early as 2010.

“It’s ironic that shops selling dietary supplements and herbal remedies for
improved stamina and health are also selling mercury-laden cosmetics known for
damaging the kidneys and causing a variety of dermal and neurological
problems,” lamented Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste

“Mercury is extremely hazardous to health and this explains why the FDA has so
far banned 77 mercury-containing skin whitening products since 2010,” she

“We request our local authorities to act in order to make the cosmetics market
safe for their constituents,” she said.

Specifically, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to Makati City Government to hold
non-compliant business establishments accountable, including cancelling their
business permits and filing criminal charges against violators.

“We appeal to Mayor Junjun Binay to help stop the illegal trade of poison cosmetics
in Guadalupe, which is close to the Makati City Hall,” Lucero said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that mercury in skin lightening
products can damage the kidney and also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration
and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and
fungal infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and
peripheral neuropathy.

According to WHO, mercury in soaps, creams and other cosmetic products is
eventually discharged into wastewater. The mercury then enters the environment,
where it becomes methylated and enters the food-chain as the highly toxic
methylmercury in fish.

Pregnant women who consume fish containing methylmercury transfer the mercury
to their fetuses, which can later result in neurodevelopmental deficits in the
children, the WHO said.