EcoWaste Coalition lauds FDA order to seize mercury-tainted cosmetics, urges vigilance to protect public health and safety

A waste and toxic watchdog today lauded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for again ordering the seizure of personal care products that were found to contain mercury, one of the most toxic chemicals in the world.

The EcoWaste Coalition cited the FDA for issuing FDA Circular 2010-011 declaring 11 skin whitening products as “imminently injurious, unsafe or dangerous” for containing impurities and contaminants way beyond the limits, including mercury that exceeded the “allowable” threshold
of 1 part per million (ppm).

“This year alone the FDA has issued three circulars stopping the distribution and sale of 23 mercury-laced skin lightening products, mostly imported from China,” said Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats).

“We recognize the effort of the FDA to purge the market of these hazardous products and further urge the agency to test more cosmetics such as skin cream, lipstick, nail polish, mascara and sunscreen, to name a few, for mercury and other chemicals of concern to ensure that only safe cosmetics are sold to consumers,” she said.

These chemicals of concern will include lead, phthalates, hydroquinone, formaldehyde, parabens, synthetic musks and other harmful substances that have been linked to birth and developmental disorders, cancers and other health problems, the EcoWaste Coalition said

“In the interest of the public’s right to know, we request Director Nazarita Tacandong to disclose how the FDA circulars were enforced, including the volume of banned products confiscated and how these were disposed,” Lucero said.

“Finally, we ask the FDA to seriously reconsider the 1 ppm limit for mercury in cosmetics, knowing that even the World Health Organization had failed to confirm any safe level for mercury exposure that would not have any adverse impacts on human health,” she emphasized.

Citing information from a fact sheet published by the Nordic Council of Ministers, mercury in cosmetics passes through the skin and reduces the melanin of the pigmentation. Mercury is particularly dangerous for the nervous system, including the developing brain of the foetus. Children of mothers who use mercury-containing skin lighteners such as soaps and creams have a high risk of being mentally and physically impaired.

FDA Circular 2010-011 authorizes food and drug regulation inspectors to seize the following mercury-tainted products:

1. JJJ (Golden Package) Magic Spots Removing Cream (Spots Removing Super)

2. Beauty Girl Double White Collagen Elastin Whitening Night Cream/Double White SPF17AP++ Whitening Day Cream

3. Yinni Green Tea Quick Acting Whitener & Speckle Remover Package (Yellow & White Cream)

4. Glutathione Grapeseed Extract Whitening & Anti-Aging (Sanli International Cosmetic Group Co., Hong Kong)

5. Doctor Bai Skin Revitalizing Skin Brightening (Doctor Bai Intensive White Revitalizing & Speckle Removing Set) (Hongkong Forever Beauty Cosmetic Hairdressing Co. Ltd.)

6. Youngrace Age Defying Essence (Gelidai Jiabao Cosmetics Co. Ltd.).

7. Gemli Glutathione Hydrolyzed Collagen Whitening & Anti-Aging (Sanli Intl. Cosmetic Group Co., Hongkong)

8. Qiang Li Zeng Bai Qu Ban Wang Whitening Cream (Zhong Guo Haerbin Gelidai Jiabao Huazhuangpin Co. Ltd.)

9. Shengli Day & Night Cream (distributed by Shengli Trading in Binondo, Manila)

10. S’Zitang Cream

11. BIB Day Cream Whitening Cream – 921 (Biyibi Meirongpin Youxiangonsi Chupin – Taiwangsheng Gaoxiongshi Zhongshanbeilu 3289 Hao).

FDA Circular 2010-011

Chemicals of Concern in Cosmetics:

Nordic Environment Fact Sheet on Mercury