EcoWaste Coalition Pushes Effective Action to Combat Mercury-Tainted Cosmetics

Quezon City. An environmental advocacy group lauded the latest ban on mercury-laced cosmetics even as it pushed for heightened public and private cooperation to protect consumers from toxic harm.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-governmental network pursuing consumer safety from harmful chemicals in products, commended the latest move by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) to ban China-imported facial creams and whitening cream products that were found to contain high levels of mercury, a highly toxic chemical.

At the same time, the group appealed to concerned government agencies, including the Bureau of Customs, National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police, to effectively enforce the ban and ensure that none of the mercury-tainted items are sold to innocent buyers.

“We laud the FDA for its latest advisory that will hopefully reach and inform all retailers and consumers of cosmetics and personal care products throughout the country,” said Thony Dizon of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

“To be really effective, the FDA has to embark on a sustained consumer information drive nationwide against toxics in consumer products and mobilize public and private partners, including all law enforcers, to ensure that toxic cosmetics are recalled, returned to manufacturers and ultimately eliminated,” he added.

“Our consumers are entitled to enjoy only non-toxic products that will not put their health and well-being at risk,” Dizon stated

The latest recall of toxic cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition observed, should be supported by all government institutions in line with Republic Act 7394 or the Consumer Protection Act, which requires the government to protect consumers against injurious, unsafe or dangerous
products by enforcing their immediate recall, ban or seizure.

FDA recently banned the following mercury-laced facial creams: Jiao Li Huichusu Whitening Speckles Removal Cream, Xin Jiao Li 7-Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream, Jiao Li 10-Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set, Jiao Li 7-Days Eliminating Freckle AB Set, Jiao Liang Miraculous Cream, Xin Jiao Liang 7-Days Miracle Package for Spots Refining, and Jiao Mei Miraculous Cream.

It has also banned two whitening creams such as Jiao Li Extra Pearl Facial Cream and Jiao Yan Specific Miraculous Cream.

FDA director Nazarita Tacandong has deputized food and drug regulation officers “to seize immediately the above identified cosmetic products for custody from all outlets or establishments where they may be found.”

A fact sheet on mercury published by the EcoWaste Coalition describes mercury and its compounds as highly toxic. Exposure can cause adverse impacts on human health and the environment. The degree of toxicity to human and wildlife depends on the chemical form of mercury, the amount, the exposure pathway and the vulnerability of the person exposed.