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Horror Cosmetics: Scary Ingredient in 12 Skin Whitening Products Bared

Consumers beware:
a chemical lurking in some cosmetics that promise fair and pretty skin may
instead give you a terrifying look and send shivers up your spines.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the chilling warning after purchasing 12 skin
whitening creams in Divisoria, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz, Manila and Cubao, Quezon
City that later tested positive for mercury up to 45,100 parts per million, way
above the 1 ppm regulatory limit for mercury under the ASEAN Cosmetics
Directive.

“These mercury-laden products are truly scary in the real sense of the word,”
said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Instead of the promised lighter and flawless skin, these products may in fact
discolor and scar the skin, cause rashes and weaken dermal resistance to
bacterial and fungal infections,” she said.

“Not only does it damage the skin, mercury harms the kidneys and the nervous
system as well, obstructing healthy brain development in fetuses and children,”
she added.

“The mercury
ingredient in such products is a spooky secret that consumers, especially
women, should be wary about when buying skin whitening cosmetics.  You
don’t want to pay to get poisoned,” she emphasized.

The symptoms of inorganic mercury poisoning, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency,
include skin rashes and dermatitis, mood swings, memory loss, mental
disturbances, and muscle weakness.

To alert consumers about mercury-containing cosmetics and the risks associated
with mercury exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition carried out the test buys and
analyzed the products using a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer.

“We conducted the test buys ahead of the Halloween to call attention to the frightening
effects of mercury exposure through cosmetics, which are real and not just a
figment of imagination,” Lucero said.

The skin whitening products, purchased from Chinese drug stores for P50 to P180
per item, and their mercury content are as follows:

1.  Yudantang Sheep Essence & Ginseng &
Green Cucumber 10 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot & Double Whitening
Sun Block Cream with 45,100 ppm
2.  Beauty Girl Egg White & Tomato 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle
Whitening Cream with 41,700 ppm
3.  Erna Whitening Cream with 9,853 ppm
4.  Bai Li Tou Hong with 4,689 ppm
5.  Youngrace Age Defying Essence with 4, 087
ppm
6.  S’Zitang with 4,019 ppm
7.  Jiaoli 7 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set with 3,870 ppm
8.  Beauty Gemli Freckles Cream with 3,271ppm
9.  Jiaoli 10 Days Eliminating Frecke Day & Night Set with 2,549 ppm
10.  S’Zitang 7 Days Specific Whitening &
Spot AB Set with 2,507 ppm
11.  Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream with 1,597 ppm
12.  Sanli Eliminating FreckleCream with 1,305
ppm

Erna, Gemli , Sanli and Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream
were among the 11 mercury-loaded skin whitening creams reported by the EcoWaste
Coalition to the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) on August 18,  2013
and recommended for banning.

Jiaoli 7 Days, Jiaoli 10 Days, S’zitang and Youngrace were banned in 2010,
Beauty Girl in 2011, Bai Li Tou Hong in 2012 and Yudantang in 2013.

None of these imported products are listed in the FDA’s list of notified
cosmetics and may be deemed  illegal
imports.

To avoid mercury exposure from such cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition reminded
consumers to scrutinize the product labels, reject products with incomplete and
incomprehensible information, seek registered mercury-free products and ask for
official receipts, which could come handy if you need to file a complaint.


Even better, be happy, grateful, proud and secure of our skin tone, the
EcoWaste Coalition said, stressing that “brown is beautiful.”

http://www.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/38963/Advisories_cosmetic_FDA%20Advisory%20No%202011-012.pdf

http://www.fda.gov.ph/attachments/article/85327/FA2013-019.pdf