EcoWaste Coalition Applauds FDA's Health Warnings Vs. 7 Unauthorized Cosmetics – Journal Online

(Watchdog group thanks FDA for acting on its reports, urges consumers to heed FDA’s safety advice)
Quezon City. The toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition applauded the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for taking action to protect the Filipino people from dangerous cosmetics such as those laced with mercury, a poison that can harm human health as well as pollute the environment.
In separate advisories posted yesterday, July 3, on the FDA website, the agency cautioned the public against the purchase and use of seven unauthorized cosmetics from abroad that are being sold online.
The FDA warned the public about the risk of using the following products, which have not undergone quality and safety verification and have not been issued the required certificates of product notification:
“We thank and laud the FDA for duly warning the public about the dangers posed by these unauthorized skin lightening products,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “We appeal to online shopping platforms to immediately take down all listings for these violative cosmetics, as well as other FDA-banned products like Goree Beauty Creams. It’s time for e-commerce to go mercury-free. Also, we urge online shoppers to heed the advice of the FDA for the sake of their health and wellness.”
Unauthorized Cosmetics
“The issuance of these new advisories against unauthorized skin lightening products, we hope, will herald an all-out campaign led by the FDA and supported by national and local government agencies, the media, civil society and the citizenry to put a stop to the unlawful trade of dangerous cosmetics with mercury in both physical and online stores,” Lucero added.
The EcoWaste Coalition alerted the FDA about the sale of the said unauthorized products by online sellers operating in China and the Philippines after ordering samples and screening them for mercury. The letters were sent by the group to the FDA on April 26 for Faiza, May 3 for Feique and May 8 for Sandal.
Equipped with a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF), the group detected mercury in all the seven products at levels exceeding the one part per million (ppm) limit for mercury as a heavy metal contaminant as set by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
Sandal was found to contain 12,580 ppm of mercury and Faiza with 7,110 ppm. The Feique products were likewise found adulterated with varying levels of mercury with Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Freckle Removing Cream topping the list at 11,320 ppm.
As written on their packaging, Sandal and Faiza were manufactured in Pakistan and the Feique products were made in China. The items will expire in 2026 – 2027, indicating they were produced after the 2000 global phase-out target for the manufacture, import or export of mercury-added cosmetics under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.
Sandal and Faiza, the EcoWaste Coalition noted, are also included in the Health Warning published by the New York City Government against 12 beauty creams from Pakistan, which were found to contain mercury.
Aside from the above facial creams, the FDA also posted on July 3 public health warnings against the purchase and use of unnotified Faiza Whitening Soap, Jiao Li Kojic Soap and Manis Herbal Whitening Soap with Sunblock.
For the guidance of consumers, businesses, customs inspectors, and local government and health authorities across the country, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the FDA to come up with an updated list of banned skin lightening products, particularly those containing mercury.
The last time the FDA published such a list was in 2012 with 72 skin lightening products listed.
According to the Secretariat of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and the United Nations Environment Programme, “people of all genders use skin-lightening products formulated to fade freckles, blemishes, age spots and treat acne; however, many use these products to intentionally lighten their skin color.”
“Consumers are often unaware that these products contain a host of harmful chemicals including mercury, causing skin rashes and discoloration; scarring; nervous, digestive and immune system damage, as well as anxiety and depression. Pregnant women, babies, and young children are particularly at risk,” the two UN bodies warned.