The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group promoting consumer and environmental health, today urged the Intelligent Skin Care Inc. to remove from the market certain items from the Belo Essentials product line that contain isobutyl paraben, a banned ingredient.
The request came on the heels of the group’s market surveillance conducted from August 1 to 3, 2016 to determine the availability of Belo Essentials products that were recalled by the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) due to their isobutyl paraben content. The company should have recalled the products on or before 31 July 2016 as agreed upon with the FDA.
In a report sent to the Center for Cosmetics Regulation and Research on August 4, the group notified the FDA about the continued sale of Belo Essentials products with isolbutyl paraben as listed ingredient in 29 branches of 17 leading retail establishments in 10 Metro Manila cities, including Caloocan, Makati, Mandaluyong, Manila, Muntinlupa, Pasay, Pasig, Quezon, San Juan and Taguig Cities. The group provided the FDA with photos to support their claims.
These include Belo Essentials Whitening Lotion with SPF 30 (white container), Belo Essentials Whitening Lotion with SPF 30 (off-white container; with sub-text “complete defense from UVA and UVB rays”), Belo Essentials Whitening Lotion with Skin Vitamins (with sub-text “lavishes skin with long lasting moisture”), Belo Essentials Moisturizing Whitening Body Bar with Nourishing Skin Vitamins (white and light blue box), Belo Essentials Moisturizing Whitening Body Bar with Nourishing Skin Vitamins (pink and blue box), and Belo Essentials Smoothening Whitening Body Bar with Exfoliating Microbeads (pink box).
“If these products are still available in leading retail establishments in Metro Manila, we presume that the same products are still being offered for sale in other parts of the country. Some of the recalled products are also being sold online,” stated Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“We therefore urge the company to review the effectiveness of their recall strategy and to comply with the FDA’s product recall order without delay,” he said.
“Retail establishments should remove the recalled products off the shelves and have them returned to the company for environmentally-sound disposal,” he added.
The EcoWaste Coalition noted that it has also found a “paraben-free” Belo Essentials Moisturizing Whitening Body Bar with Nourishing Skin Vitamins (pink and blue box) during their market surveillance, indicating the company’s capacity to remove not only the banned isobutyl paraben but also the other types of permitted parabens from the product formulation.
Last 20 April 2016, the FDA issued Advisory No. 2016-032 reiterating the ban on isobutyly paraben and four other types of paraben in line with the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, which has added in November 2014 the five parabens in the “list of substances which must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products.” The FDA had given the cosmetics industry a grace period to comply that ended on 31 December 2015.
According to the FDA, “cosmetic products found to contain any of the five identified banned ingredients pose potential health risk to the consuming public and therefore, shall not be allowed to be placed or to remain in the Philippine market starting 1 January 2016.”
Parabens have been identified as endocrine disrupting chemicals based on evidence that they interfere and mimic hormones, particularly estrogen, which is the primary female sex hormone, the EcoWaste Coalition said.
Studies have associated parabens in breast cancer, tumors of the uterus, abnormal development of the testes, infertility and other reproductive health problems, the group noted.
List of retail establishments where Belo Essentials products with banned isobutyl paraben are still on sale as of 3 August 2016: