FDA alerted anew about mercury-tainted cosmetics

A toxics watchdog has alerted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) over the brazen sale of mercury-laden cosmetics by some Chinese drug stores in Binondo and Divisoria, Manila.

In test buys conducted during the weekend, the EcoWaste Coalition’s AlerToxic Patrol found 12 Chinese drug stores selling 15 brands of imported skin whitening products from P50 to P300 each.

Among them were Miss Beauty Magic Cream, Bai Li Tou Hong, Gemli Glutathione Grapeseed Extract Whitening and Anti-Aging Cream and two “Special Cream” products labeled in Chinese characters that the FDA had already banned for containing mercury above the allowable limit of 1 part per million (ppm).

A screening conducted by the group using an X-Ray Fluorescence device detected mercury up to 25,500 ppm in 14 of the 15 samples.  The samples were submitted today to the FDA’s Center for Cosmetics Regulation and Research for confirmatory analysis.

Using some of its strongest language to date, the EcoWaste Coalition deplored the blatant trade of mercury-added cosmetics that pose real danger to human health and the environment.

“We condemn this callous and criminal trade of skin care products loaded with toxic mercury by some Chinese drug stores masquerading as agents of good health. It’s high time for the government to use the full force of the law to stop this assault against consumer health and welfare,” Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.

Quoting from a material published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the EcoWaste Coalition said that “even small amounts of mercury and its compounds can impact human health and the environment.”

“Mercury use in cosmetic products can have adverse effects including skin rashes (contact dermatitis and acne venenata), discolouring and scarring (post inflammatory dyschromia), and can reduce skin’s resistance to bacterial and mycotic skin disorders,” according to UNEP.

“Direct and prolonged exposure through the skin during repeated applications can cause damage to the brain, nervous system and kidneys,” UNEP warned.

“Skin care products known to contain mercury should be banned from manufacturing or import and removed from the market when found,” UNEP said.

The EcoWaste Coalition is a national network of more than 150 public interest groups pursuing sustainable and just solutions to waste, climate change and chemical issues towards the envisioned Zero Waste 2020 goal.

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