NGO urges mayor: Stop banned cosmetics sale

NGO urges mayor: Stop banned cosmetics sale
SunStar Local News GPX

AN ENVIRONMENTAL health non-governmental organization (NGO) sought the assistance of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to halt the unlawful sale of contraband cosmetics containing high concentrations of mercury in the city.

In a press statement on Feb. 22, 2024, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the Office of the Mayor to “take necessary action to stop the continuing sale in Cebu City of skin whitening cosmetics that have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”

The group wants the City Government to conduct unannounced store inspections in a mall in downtown Colon St. and other retail outlets, confiscate FDA-banned cosmetics containing mercury, and promulgate an executive order or a city ordinance banning and penalizing the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale of mercury-containing cosmetics.

The EcoWaste Coalition said that last week, a visiting staff of the EcoWaste Coalition went to a mall in downtown Colon St. and managed to buy three variants of “made in Pakistan” and FDA-prohibited Goree Beauty Cream from stores operating inside the mall.

Aileen Lucero, national coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition, said these cosmetic products lack the required cosmetic product notification.

These also allegedly contain mercury above the maximum limit of one part per million (ppm) as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive and the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

“As part of its vision towards a zero waste and toxics-free society, the EcoWaste Coalition has been campaigning for pollution prevention and reduction from chemicals and waste, particularly targeting mercury-added products like skin lightening cosmetics that should have been phased out globally in 2020,” reads a portion of the statement.

Mercury is a health-damaging chemical not allowed in cosmetic products.

The NGO said the FDA banned Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream and Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene in 2017, while the public health warning against Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream came out in 2023.

It said that based on the chemical screening conducted by the group with the aid of an X-ray fluorescence (XRF) device, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream was found contaminated with 28,740 ppm; Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene with 28, 690 ppm and Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream with 25,460 ppm of mercury.

The levels of mercury found in the three Goree products exceed the proposed threshold value of 15 ppm for mercury waste under the Minamata Convention.

The EcoWaste Coalition noted that other countries use a more health-protective standard such as 5 ppm to define mercury waste.

Lucero said mercury is a “potent neurotoxin that can damage multiple parts of the body, including the brain and the nervous system, the kidneys and the skin itself as manifested in skin rashes, discoloration and scarring and the skin’s reduced resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.”

“Direct application of contaminated skin whitening creams can lead to dermal absorption of mercury and inhalation of mercury vapor creating a two-fold exposure scenario,” adding “children and other non-users may also be poisoned as mercury vapors seep into clothes, towels and furnishings polluting the air,” she added.

Lucero said women are the primary target in the marketing of mercury-added skin whitening cosmetics and are most vulnerable to the adverse effects of toxic exposure, especially if they are of childbearing age.

She added that mercury is known to cross the placenta during pregnancy and accumulate in fetal tissues, affecting the developing brain and nervous system of the baby in the womb and causing neuro-developmental disorders.

The NGO has requested the City Health Department to include the prevention of mercury exposure through adulterated cosmetics in its health promotion drive. Additionally, the organization has requested the city to launch a “Brown is Beautiful” campaign to promote appreciation and acceptance of one’s natural skin color.


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.