Manila Vendors Defy Ban on Mercury-Loaded Cosmetics

Not yet banned, mercury-laced Bihuayn Whitening Cream at G2 R. Hidalgo St.

Seven of the eight banned mercury-laden cosmetics sold in Manila.

Banned Bai Li Tou Hong at JDA Chinese Drug Store, Plaza Miranda.

Banned Bai Li Tou Hong at Stall 22, Manila City Plaza.

Banned Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream at G2 Carriedo St.

Banned “Special Cream” labeled in Chinese characters at Stall G-163, Good Earth Mall, Bustos St.

Banned “Special Cream” labeled in Chinese characters at Miao Eng Chinese Drug Store, Bustos St.

Banned Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A and B Cream at Central Chinese Drug Store, Ongpin St.

Banned Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream at G2 Carriedo St.

Banned Jiaoli Miraculous Cream sold by a sidewalk vendor at Quezon Blvd. cor. R. Hidalgo St.
17 December 2012. A waste and pollution watchdog has denounced the continued defiance by at least nine Chinese drug stores and beauty product shops in Manila that sell banned skin whitening cosmetics contaminated with dangerous levels of mercury.

The EcoWaste Coalition took to task wayward vendors in Binondo, Quiapo and Santa Cruz for ignoring the government’s directive banning cosmetics with mercury above the one part per million (ppm) “allowable limit.”

On November 28 this year, the Food and Drug Administration issued DOH-FDA Advisory 2012-018 expanding the list of banned cosmetic products found to contain toxic concentrations of mercury.

Market monitoring by the group’s AlerToxic Patrol last Friday and Sunday revealed that no less than seven of the banned 71 items are openly sold in the area, including Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A and B Cream that had 63,516 ppm of mercury.

Among those seen on store shelves in Quiapo were Bai Li Tou Hong (JDA Drug Store, Plaza Miranda and Stall 22, Manila City Plaza), Jiaoli Miraculous Cream (sidewalk vendor, Quezon Blvd. cor. R. Hidalgo St.), Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream in blue and purple boxes and Miss Beauty Magic Cream (G2 Beauty Products and General Merchandise, Carriedo St. and R. Hidalgo St.).
Being traded in Binondo and Sta. Cruz were single and double packaging of a ‘Special Cream” labeled in Chinese characters (Stall G 163, Good Earth Mall and Miao Eng Chinese Drug Store, Bustos St., Sta. Cruz), Liliki Whitening Day and Night Cream (Stall G 50-51, Rizal Ave., Good Earth Mall, Sta. Cruz) and Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A and B Cream (Central Chinese Drug Store, Ongpin St.).

Also on sale at the G2 store in Quiapo was Bihuayn Whitening Cream, a sample of which was tested by the EcoWaste Coalition in September 2012 and found to contain 12,600 ppm of mercury. The FDA has yet to ban this product.“We deplore this shameless disregard for consumer health and welfare by some traders as if exposure to mercury in cosmetics is not a serious threat to health at all,” lamented Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, adding that “such defiance points to the urgency of passing the draft city ordinance banning and penalizing the sale of mercury-laden cosmetics in Manila.”

FDA Director Kenneth Hartigan-Go through the said directive has deputized local government units and enforcement agencies “to apprehend vendors or outlets found selling the highly toxic cosmetic products to prevent further exposure of consumers and to protect the environment.”

Last Tuesday, the combined force of the FDA and the EcoWaste Coalition seized 120 boxes of mercury-laden cosmetics that are illegally sold by retailers in Baclaran.

According to the FDA’s health advisory, the chronic use of mercury-laced cosmetics “reduces skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”

“There have been cases of adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products, such as kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring,” the advisory pointed out.

“Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,”the advisory further said.

The photos of the products on display can be viewed at the EcoWaste Coalition’s blogspot at: