EcoWaste Coalition Proposes “Safe Cosmetics Summit” as RP Marks the Consumer Welfare Month

Quezon City. A citizens’ group promoting chemical safety has called upon the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry to convene a “Safe Cosmetics Summit” to halt the marketing of personal care products containing toxic chemicals such as mercury.

The EcoWaste Coalition raised the idea as the country marks the annual Consumer Welfare Month this October.

“It appears to us that a Summit involving all the stakeholders is essential to facilitate a broad consensus on specific policies and measures that should be pursued to promote and guarantee consumer health and safety from harmful chemicals in some personal care products,” said Dr. Leah Primitiva Samaco-Paquiz, Secretary, EcoWaste Coalition.

“We find it totally alarming that dozens of skin whitening products have been recalled this year for containing elevated levels of mercury, a highly toxic metal,” she added.

Citing information culled from the website of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the EcoWaste Coalition said that a total of 28 skin lightening products were recalled from January to September 2010 due to their high mercury contents.

In a TV interview last September 10, 2010, FDA director Nazarita Tacandong reported that two of the recently recalled skin whitening products tested with 1,000 and 3,000 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, which are outrageously way beyond the agency’s “allowable threshold” of 1 ppm. Please click to see the interview:


Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project PROTECT (People Responding and Organizing against Toxic Chemical Threats) expressed confidence that the “Safe Cosmetics Summit” will earn the support of the government and other sectors.

“The proposed ‘Safe Cosmetics Summit’ will provide a unique venue to identify key issues and concerns, including gaps in prevailing regulations and their implementation,” she said.

“We are hopeful that all stakeholders will agree that toxic-free cosmetics are good for the customers, businesses and the environment, too,” she said.

The EcoWaste Coalition hopes to generate support for the following action steps towards safe cosmetics:

1. Get toxic chemicals out of personal care products, especially substances that are classified as known or probable human carcinogen, reproductive toxins, endocrine disruptors or mutagens.

2. Revise FDA’s mercury limit in cosmetics from 1 ppm to 0 ppm.

3. Ensure the protection of workers, consumers and other susceptible groups from toxic chemical exposure in cosmetics through the use of safe alternatives.

4. Require manufacturers to disclose all chemical ingredients of their products in accordance with the consumer “right to know.”

5. Rectify poor compliance to labelling requirements as required by law.

6. Set health-based safety standards on chemicals in line with the precautionary principle such as those found in the European Union Cosmetics Directive.

7. Prohibit cosmetic testing on animals.

8. Strengthen the role of FDA as the main regulatory agency for cosmetics with increased budgetary allocations.

9. Improve market monitoring and surveillance of personal care products being sold in the market.

10. Create mechanism for expanded civil society participation in promoting safe cosmetics in the market.

Holding the proposed “Safe Cosmetics Summit” during the Consumer Welfare Month , as declared by then President Fidel Ramos through Presidential Proclamation No. 1098, will be a great way of putting a spotlight on the need to protect the basic rights of consumers, the EcoWaste Coalition stated.

These basic consumer rights as promoted by Consumers International, a fifty-year old organization supporting and representing consumers worldwide, include:

1. The right to satisfaction of basic needs – To have access to basic, essential goods and services: adequate food, clothing, shelter, health care, education, public utilities, water and sanitation.

2. The right to safety – To be protected against products, production processes and services which are hazardous to health or life.

3. The right to be informed – To be given the facts needed to make an informed choice, and to be protected against dishonest or misleading advertising and labelling.

4. The right to choose – To be able to select from a range of products and services, offered at competitive prices with an assurance of satisfactory quality.

5. The right to be heard – To have consumer interests represented in the making and execution of government policy, and in the development of products and services.

6. The right to redress – To receive a fair settlement of just claims, including compensation for misrepresentation, shoddy goods or unsatisfactory services.

7. The right to consumer education – To acquire knowledge and skills needed to make informed, confident choices about goods and services, while being aware of basic consumer rights and responsibilities and how to act on them.

8. The right to a healthy environment -To live and work in an environment which is non-threatening to the well-being of present and future generations.


EcoWaste Coalition
Unit 329, Eagle Court Condominium
Matalino St., 1101 Quezon City
+63 2 441-1846

1 Comment

  • One way to put a stop to the production of these products is to spread awareness of its existence and the harm it can do to its users.. it's great to see all the differing efforts people are doing to contribute to a better and sustainable environment for the community.