11 skin whiteners have high mercury content: group

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Monday, August 1, 2011

OF THE 12 skin whitening products being sold in the Philippines, all brands save for one have been found to contain high levels of mercury, a toxic substance known to cause tremors, impaired cognitive skills, and sleep disturbance, among others.

Mercury levels in these products contain as much as 28,600 parts per million (ppm), a level that is "outrageously high," the toxic watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition said.

Skin whitening products tested "ranged from 1,085 to 28,600 ppm, in brazen breach of the country's regulatory limit," EcoWaste Coalition-Safe Cosmetics Campaigner Aileen Lucero said in a statement.


The Philippines' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) allows the use of mercury in cosmetics as long as these fall within one million parts per million.

Mercury damages the kidneys and many body systems, including the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, and gastrointestinal, among others.

Lucero also said that the companies that made the 11 products with high mercury levels failed to declare them.

"None of the 11 products listed mercury as ingredient in their labels, indicating the manufacturers' failure to provide truthful information that can help consumers make sound choices," she claimed.

These 11 brands were identified as Miss Beauty Magic Cream (28,600 ppm); Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set Cream (12,400 ppm); JJJ Magic Spots Removing Cream (9,610 ppm); The Flower Woman 7-Day Whitening and Spot and Night Set Cream (7,754 ppm); Jiaoli Miraculous Cream (7,665 ppm); and Sara Glutathione Sheep Placenta Whitening and Anti-Spot Cream (6,210 ppm).

Other skin whitening products that have high mercury content are Szitang 7-Day Specific Whitening and Spot AB Set Cream (5,886 ppm); Beauty Girl Natural Olive and Sheep Essence 10-Day Double Whitening Cream (3,638 ppm); Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream (2,304 ppm); Aichun Beauty Green Tea Whitening Speckle Removing Series Cream (1,820 ppm); and Aichun Beauty Whitening Freckle Day and Night Cream (1,574 ppm).

These products were purchased on July 23 from two Chinese drug stores, a cosmetic shop, and two sidewalk vendors all located in Quiapo, Manila.

Local news

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