Six More Skin Whitening Cosmetics Found Laced with Mercury

The ink has
barely dried on the government’s latest advisory against unsafe cosmetics and a
consumer watchdog has already bought and tested new products that should be
banned for containing high levels of mercury, a potent neurotoxin.
EcoWaste Coalition, a public interest group helping the government stop the
illegal sale of poison cosmetics, has found six more mercury-loaded skin
whitening products in the market, particularly
at Chinese drug stores located at 999 Shopping Mall and Tutuban Prime Block Mall
in Divisoria, Manila.
came after the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) renewed its warning against
consuming unauthorized cosmetics such as skin whitening products containing
mercury above the permitted level of 1 part per million (ppm) that have not
undergone safety and quality evaluation and have not been issued “Certificate
of Notification.”
an advisory issued last Friday, FDA Director Kenneth Hartigan-Go advised “all
consumers never to buy cosmetic products that are not authorized by the FDA and
to buy only from legitimate outlets.”
its most recent test buys in Manila, as well as in Davao City, the group
managed to obtain six skin lightening products costing from P50 to P380 each, which
are not among the 93 mercury-laden cosmetics previously recalled by the FDA.

Subsequent search at the FDA website showed that the six products in question
are not on the agency’s “list of notified cosmetic products.”

products pose a serious chemical risk because of their use of mercury as
skin-bleaching or lightening agent and should be removed from the market at
once,” said Aileen Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Pulling these products off the store shelves will help in reducing the amount
of mercury that gets into our bodies and the environment,” she said.

the use of analytical device called the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer,
the group confirmed the presence of mercury up to 5,827 ppm in all the six
products such as the following:
1.  Erna Whitening Cream, P50,  with 5,827 
ppm of mercury

2.  White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence
Powerful Spot Remover, P150, with 3,406 ppm of mercury

3.  Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling and Whitening
Cream, P90, with 3,042 ppm of mercury

4.  Beauty Gemli Freckles Cream, P380, with 2,656
ppm of mercury
5.  Angel Placenta Whitening Cream, P120,
with 1,369 ppm ppm of mercury

6.  Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream, P150, with
1,240 ppm of mercury

EcoWaste Coalition has already e-mailed the FDA about its latest findings.

“We will continue to keep an eye on dangerous cosmetics in the market, raise
public awareness about the risks associated with hazardous chemicals in such
products, fight for chemical safety and for consumer access to vital chemical
and health information, and strengthen collaboration with

and local authorities to protect the public health and the environment,” Lucero

is linked to nervous system toxicity, as well as developmental, reproductive,
immune and respiratory toxicity, according to the Skin Deep cosmetics database
of the US-based Environmental Working Group.
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, according to the World Health Organization.