THE city government, through the City Price Coordinating Council (CPCC), and the local Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are set to inspect stores in Cagayan de Oro City that sell skin whitening products laden with mercury.
This, after the environmental and health organization, Ecological Waste Coalition (EcoWaste Coalition), called out to the city government for help in preventing the illegal sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics.
According to lawyer Edgardo Uy, chairperson of the CPCC, they already had their initial talk with the local FDA on the said concern last Thursday, June 7.
“We suggested to do a surprise inspection together with the FDA. We are following up actions from their side,” Uy said.
Uy said that during the inspection, the FDA will confiscate the illegal items from retailers who are caught selling the banned skin whitening products.
“Because if they (the FDA) won’t, those items will merely disappear from the shelves to be sold later,” Uy said.
“Just like the authority of the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) to confiscate unauthorized or substandard Christmas lights, the FDA can also look into a similar authority,” he added.
Last June 4, the EcoWaste Coalition, during a press conference, presented some imported skin lightening creams laden with mercury sold at the Angel Chavez Commercial Complex, Cogon Public Market, and Agora Public Market.
Among the presented cosmetics products include Goree Day and Night Whitening Cream Oil Free and Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with SPF 30 Avocado and Aloevera, both of which were banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2017; Erna Whitening Cream, and others.
The FDA has set a maximum allowable limit of mercury in cosmetic products generally of no more than 1 part per million (ppm) (0.0001 percent).
The test buys conducted by the EcoWaste Coalition last June 2, netted 33 banned items representing seven brands such as Collagen Plus Vit E, Erna, Goree, JJJ, Jiaoli, S’Zitang and Xinjiaoli. The items were bought from 12 retail stores for P40 to P300 each.
The items, through a chemical screening using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device, contained mercury in the range of 125 to 22,700 ppm, way above the maximum allowable limit set by FDA.
According to FDA and the World Health Organization, the “adverse health effects brought about by highly toxic mercury in cosmetics products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring.”
Symptoms of mercury exposure include: depression, drowsiness, exhaustion, hair loss, inflamed gums, irritability, memory loss, nervousness, rash, sleeplessness, tingling of the extremities, tremors, and weakness.