EcoWaste Coalition: Toxic Counterfeit Cosmetics: A Costly Choice for Your Health and Wallet

Counterfeit cosmetics are cheaper and pleasing to the
purse, but may be laden with hazardous ingredients that can result to long-term
ailments and hefty medical bills, the EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watchdog,

Taking its cue from a recent US news report
about excessive lead in a counterfeit version of a “MAC Mineralize Skinfinish
“compact powder, the group went to 999 Shopping Mall in Divisoria, Manila on
August 25 and bought a fake MAC for P150.

The original version of the said item, which has the obligatory product
notification from the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), sells for P2,050
from an official MAC store at TriNoma Shopping Mall in Quezon City, the group

Based on the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF)
screening conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition, the counterfeit MAC compact
foundation had 997 parts per million (ppm) of lead, way above the 20 ppm limit
under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive.

Lead, a neurological and reproductive toxin and endocrine disrupting chemical, is
strictly prohibited in the manufacturing of cosmetics under the Chemical
Control Order for Lead and Lead Compounds issued by the Department of
Environment and Natural Resources last December 2013.

“We make this information known to the public not to endorse any company or
product line, but to educate and alert our consumers, both women and men, about
the health risks of using toxic cosmetics and personal care products,” said
Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Cosmetics, be it an original or imitation, should not contain harmful
ingredients and impurities that can cause allergies, infections and other more
serious damage to the body, and endanger a person’s reproductive health,”
she pointed out.   

information from the website of the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, Lucero
reiterated that “lead is a well-known and proven neurotoxin that has been
linked to learning, language and behavioral problems and has been linked to
reduced fertility in both men  and women, hormonal changes and menstrual

“Pregnant women are especially vulnerable because lead crosses the placenta and
may enter the fetal brain, and (lead exposure) has also been linked to
miscarriage,” said the non-profit coalition that is based at the Breast Cancer
Fund in US.   

To avoid toxic exposure via cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers

– Buy from a licensed retailer, not from unauthorized sidewalk vendors, mall
stalls, online dealers and other unofficial traders, and get a valid receipt.

– Check the
FDA website at www.fda.gov.ph to confirm if the product is duly

– Have doubts about the authenticity of the product if its price is drastically

– Scrutinize the product packaging and note any difference in color, font or

Carefully read the product information, including the ingredients, batch number
and manufacturing details.