Top 5 Products with the Highest Levels of Mercury: 1) Yudantang Ginseng and Green Cucumber 10 Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence, 59,000 ppm, 2) Yudantang 10 Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot and Double Whitening Sun Block Cream, 50,000 ppm, 3) Beauty Girl Egg White and Tomato 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream, 39,400 ppm, 4) Natural Orange Whitening and Anti-Aging Package, 37,000 ppm and 5) Hengxueqian Whitening Set, 25,300 ppm.
attention to the illegal trade in skin whitening cosmetics loaded with mercury,
a potent neurotoxin, that are being sold to uninformed consumers, especially at
Chinese drug stores in the city of Manila.
After buying and testing 15 units of skin whitening creams imported from
Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China, the EcoWaste Coalition revealed that all samples
showed extreme levels of mercury in violation of the allowable limit of one
part per million (ppm).
With the aid of an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer, the group detected mercury
ranging from 286 ppm to as high as 59,000
ppm in the 15 samples, 10 of which were already banned by the Food and Drugs
purchased on June 15, 2013 from 10 Chinese drug stores located in Binondo,
Divisoria, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz, Manila, and from another Chinese drug store in
Cubao, Quezon City.
“Consumers need to be wary of skin lightening products, particularly those which
are not properly labeled and registered, as these often contain undisclosed quantities
of mercury that can cause ill health. Be
inquisitive when you shop as what you don’t know can harm you,” said Aileen
Lucero, Acting National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
Citing information from the World Health Organization, Lucero warned that
exposure to mercury in skin whitening products can damage the kidneys and also
cause skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as reduce skin’s
resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.
discovery of mercury in skin whitening cosmetics prompted re-elected Manila
District 2 Councilor Numero Lim to announce his plan to file an ordinance banning
mercury-laced cosmetics and imposing harsh penalties to deter violations as soon
as the new session commences
“This unlawful trade of dangerous cosmetics loaded with mercury has been embarrassingly
going on for years and has to be stopped once and for all. I’m sure Mayor Erap, Vice-Mayor Isko and my
fellow councilors will throw their unequivocal support behind such urgent action
to curb mercury exposure from cosmetics and protect public health,” Councilor
Lim said in a statement sent via the EcoWaste Coalition.
levels of mercury include:
Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence, 59,000 ppm
2. Yudantang 10 Specific Eliminating
Freckle Spot and Double Whitening Sun
Block Cream, 50,000 ppm
3. Beauty Girl Egg White and Tomato 6
Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream, 39,400 ppm
Orange Whitening and Anti-Aging Package, 37,000 ppm
5. Hengxueqian Whitening Set, 25,300 ppm
6. S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle
Day and Night Set, 6,499 ppm
7. S’Zitang 7 Days Specific Eliminating
Freckle AB Set, 5,233 ppm
8. Bai Li Tou Hong Cream, 4,463 ppm
9. Jiaoli 7 Days Eliminating Freckle AB
Set, 3,764 ppm
10. Gemli Glutathione Hydrolyzed Collagen, 3,565 ppm
11. Gemli Glutathione Grapeseed Extract Whitening and Anti-Aging, 2,251 ppm
12. Gakadi, 2,101 ppm
13. “Special Cream” (1 jar), 1,153 ppm
14. One product labeled in Chinese characters with red flower and green leaves,
15. Aichun Beauty Aloe Vera Whitening and Speckle Removing Series, 286 ppm
Five of the above products were among those recommended by the EcoWaste
Coalition to the FDA for banning as early as February 2013.
These include Yudantang Ginseng and Green Cucumber 10 Days Whitening Speckles
Removed Essence, Yudantang 10 Specific
Eliminating Freckle Spot and Double
Whitening Sun Block Cream, Hengxueqian
Whitening Set, Gakadi and the Chinese-labeled skin whitening cream with red
flower and green leaves.
To effectively combat the continued
proliferation of mercury-containing cosmetics in the market, Lucero called on
1. Department of Health through the FDA to intensify post-market surveillance
and sue violators, as well as to promptly update the list of banned
mercury-containing cosmetics for the guidance of importers, distributors,
retailers and consumers.
2. Department of Interior and Local
Government to mobilize LGUs in the crucial grassroots action to fight the
illegal trade of mercury-laden cosmetics.
contraband cosmetics into the country’s ports.
At the same time, the EcoWaste Coalition appealed to the cosmetics industry to
respect the rights of consumers to product information and to product safety,
and to only manufacture products that are guaranteed safe for humans and the
The EcoWaste Coalition has immediately reported its latest findings to the FDA
through its “Consumer eReport Facility on Cosmetic Products.”