Toxic make–up still in Baguio

SunStar File

ECOWASTE Coalition is asking Mayor Benjie Magalong to stop the trade of dangerous cosmetics containing mercury in Baguio City.

Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition, in a letter asked Magalong “Aside from immediate law enforcement action, we request your office to please consider enacting an ordinance similar to what Quezon City adopted in 2018 that will ban the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in your area of responsibility.”

Dizon said results of a test buy July 6 resulted to discovery of illegal sale of cosmetics which all exceeded the mercury limits set by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

He said “We managed to buy 15 skin whitening creams -- all of which exceeded the 1 ppm allowable limit for mercury as contaminant in cosmetics as per the Asean Cosmetic Directive. The items, which were all imported, unregistered and lacking market authorization from the FDA was mostly procured from beauty and health product stores at Baguio Center Mall and the Maharlika Livelihood Complex. The stores where the products were obtained all gave official receipts.”

Studies by the World Health Organization show mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health with the main adverse effect of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage. Mercury in skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.

Dizon said the advocacy of the coalition is in support of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which has set a 2020 phase-out of mercury-added cosmetics such as skin lightening creams and soaps with mercury content above 1 part per million (ppm).

The coalition conducted the same operation last year which exposed stores in the city selling toxic cosmetics.

Previously, former councilor Leandro Yangot, Jr. proposed an ordinance which aimed to regulate cosmetic products in the city hoping to put to an end illegal manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution and sale of unregistered cosmetic products; promote citizen awareness about the health and environmental impacts of consuming toxic-chemical containing cosmetics; and discourage consumers from patronizing cheap yet perilous cosmetic products.


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