Council tackles toxic makeup

ADVOCACY group, EcoWaste Coalition is hoping for the backing of the city to ban toxic products in the highlands.

Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition, thanked the City Council for considering the proposal which mainly seeks to protect public health against the adverse effects of mercury exposure.

“The enactment of an ordinance banning mercury-contaminated skin whitening cosmetics will deter unscrupulous traders from selling these health-damaging products in Baguio City. We hope the councilors will put the passage of such ordinance in the list of their top priorities for their current session,” Dizon added.

The issue on toxic make up has been referred to the City Council’s committee on market, trade, commerce and agriculture chaired by councilor Philian Weygan–Allan.

The group is asking the City Council to possibly craft an ordinance banning the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics in the city similar to the measure done in Quezon City.

The Quezon City law aimed to combat the illegal trade of mercury-added cosmetics filed in 2018 and unanimously enacted and approved by then Mayor Herbert Bautista.

“The adoption of such measure will be in sync with the country‘s National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury-Added Products and the management of their associated wastes,” he added.

Weeks ago, Dizon wrote to Mayor Benjamin Magalong, urging to protect consumers against mercury-tainted cosmetics

In a test buy operation, the group was again able to buy cosmetics laden with mercury, a highly toxic chemical that is forbidden as ingredient in cosmetic product formulations.

The items were all imported, unregistered and lacking market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They were from beauty and health product stores at Baguio Center Mall and the Maharlika Livelihood Complex and from general merchandise stores located at Magsaysay Ave. and Rajah Soliman St.

Mercury ranging from 970 to 23,700 parts per million (ppm) were detected in skin whitening products bearing the names Goree, Jiaoli and S’Zitang that the FDA had already banned due to their mercury content.

The group’s latest market surveillance in Baguio City netted eight lipsticks with high concentrations of lead in excess of the 20 ppm regulatory limit, counterfeit MAC Mariah Carey and Qianxiu Hello Kitty lipsticks were found to contain lead in the range of 167 to 42,800 ppm.

The EcoWaste Coalition used a handheld X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device to screen the product samples for mercury and lead. (Maria Elena Catajan)


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