EcoWaste Coalition: Beware of Play Cosmetics Laced with Highly Toxic Mercury

Toy cosmetics containing highly toxic mercury
should not be given as Christmas gifts to children, a toxics watchdog warned

The EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers to refrain from buying such toy
cosmetics, and not to give related items already purchased to children unless
there is a verifiable assurance of safety.

The group made the last-minute plea after buying and testing 10 samples on
December 22 of toy cosmetics that retailers in Divisoria sell for only P10 to

“Our investigation shows that some play make-up sets are not safe to play with
due to the presence of mercury that can damage the kidneys, reduce skin’s
resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, as well as cause skin
discoloration, rashes and scarring,” said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste
Coalition’s Project Protect.

“Girls, in particular, are unknowingly exposing themselves to mercury and other
toxic metals when they play actress, princess or Miss Universe and apply unsafe
cosmetics to their faces and lips,” she added.

“Mercury, lead and other health-damaging chemicals should not be present in
cosmetics and other consumer products, especially those intended for kids,” she

Traces of mercury were detected in 8 of the 10 samples in the range of 3.7 to
554 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the government’s “allowable
limit” of 1 ppm for cosmetics.

For example, a “Pretty Girl” make-up set, while providing a detailed
list of its supposed ingredients did not mention the excessive levels of mercury
detected in the lipstick and blush-on powder at 554 ppm and 198 ppm,

“Fashion Girls” make-up set, on the other hand, was found to contain
179 ppm of mercury while claiming on its label that it is “designed to be
safe and harmless.”

Based on the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) screening results, the EcoWaste Coalition
cautioned the public against buying and giving the following items as Christmas

1. Pretty Girl Beautiful Colors, P40, with 554 ppm mercury
2. Fashion Girls Make-Up Set, P30, with 179 ppm mercury
3. Wink Club Beauty Series (small), P10, with 4.4 ppm mercury
4. Beauty Princess Make-Up Set, P30, with 4.2 ppm mercury
5. Pretty Girl, P30, with 4.2 ppm mercury

Wink Club Beauty Series (big), P40, with 4.1 ppm mercury
Dream Girl Make-Up Set, P50, with 3.9 ppm mercury
Dream Angel Make-Up Set, P35, with 3.7 ppm mercury

None of the 8 mercury-tainted play cosmetics provided information about their
manufacturers or distributors.

The EcoWaste Coalition had earlier reported finding health-damaging heavy
metals in 313 out of 518 toy samples that the group procured from retailers in
Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao during the “ber” months (September to December
2012), underpinning their call for robust toy safety legislation.