BAGUIO City Mayor Benjie Magalong has asked legislators to take the call to ban toxic makeup as urgent.
After certifying the proposed law as urgent, Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan filed an ordinance seeking the ban on distribution, manufacture and sale of whitening products containing mercury in the city during Monday’s regular session.
The Olowan proposal was approved in the first reading which seeks to put fines ranging from P2,000 to P5,000 for violators caught with mercury-laden products.
Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition, was very pleased that a draft ordinance passed the first reading.
“Kudos to Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan for introducing it and to Mayor Benjamin Magalong for certifying its passage as urgent,” Dizon added.
Dizon said if the legislation is approved, Baguio City would be the second LGU in the entire country to ban and penalize the production, distribution and sale of skin lightening products contaminated with toxic mercury.
It will be a feather in the cap of the new administration led by Magalong.
Quezon City enacted a similar ordinance in 2018 at the insistence of the EcoWaste Coalition. Efforts are underway to get other LGUs, including Manila, to enact equivalent ordinances.
“The eventual adoption of this public health measure is very much anticipated as this will hopefully prevent dealers of dangerous cosmetics laden with mercury from engaging in such illicit business that can jeopardize human health,” Dizon said.
“The filing of the Baguio City ordinance is very timely as the government with assistance from UNIDO has recently completed a process that resulted in the formulation of the National Action Plan (NAP) for the Phase-Out of Mercury-Added Products, including mercury-laced skin whitening creams and soaps,” Dizon added.
UNIDO, or United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), has scheduled a formal turnover ceremony of the NAP to the government on July 30 in Mandaluyong City.
Under the Minamata Convention on Mercury, cosmetics such as skin whitening creams and soaps with mercury content above one part per million (ppm) are targeted for global phase-out by 2020.
Weeks ago, Dizon wrote to Magalong, urging to protect consumers against mercury-tainted cosmetics after a test buy operation where 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 all imported, unregistered and lacking market authorization from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 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.