Toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics lauds the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Philippines for issuing the FDA Advisory No. 2023-2392 – a Public Health Warning against the purchase and use of unauthorized Goree 24K Gold Beauty Cream on November 21, 2023.
On October 13, BAN Toxics alerted consumers to the sale of skin-lightening products (SLPs) containing toxic mercury, a known hazard to human health. The group purchased a “new” brand of Pakistan-made SLPs sold for P200 in the local market. Monitoring online shopping platforms like Shoppe and Lazada, the products were found priced between P170 to P200.
Using a SCIAPS X-200 HH XRF Analyzer, the Goree 24k Gold Beauty Cream 3-in-1 Formula was discovered to contain toxic mercury, measuring up to 41,500 parts per million (ppm). This exceeds the allowable limit of 1 ppm set by the FDA and outlined in the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
The Minamata Convention on Mercury prohibits the manufacture, import, or export of specific mercury-added products after 2020. According to this regulation, all cosmetic products must contain mercury concentrations of less than 1 part per million (ppm).
“We commend the FDA for issuing public health warnings against unnotified cosmetic products such as Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream to prevent potential hazards from prohibited ingredients such as toxic mercury,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.
“As part of our Safe Cosmetics campaign, we’re committed to monitoring and reporting the unauthorized sale of unregistered and unnotified Skin Lightening Products containing mercury in both on-site and online markets. Our goal is to protect human health and the environment from mercury exposure,” he added.
Mercury is among the World Health Organization’s top ten chemicals of major public health concern. Mercury lightens the skin by suppressing the production of melanin and can also remove age spots, freckles, blemishes, and wrinkles. However, its use can lead to rashes, skin discoloration, and blotching. Mercury can enter the body through absorption, inhalation, or ingestion.
A documented case study details a 54-year-old woman who developed dementia, epilepsy, and peripheral polyneuropathy at 49 after consistently using skin-lightening cream for six years. Upon promptly ceasing exposure, her blood and urine mercury levels reverted to levels typically found in individuals not exposed to such products.
Mercury from soaps, creams, and beauty products ultimately reaches our waterways. Once in the environment, it transforms into a harmful substance called methylmercury that enters our food chain, notably through fish consumption. Pregnant women who consume methylmercury-contaminated fish can pass it on to their babies, potentially causing developmental issues.
Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale, among other things, of health products, including cosmetics, without the proper authorization from the agency. (PR)