The EcoWaste Coalition said test buys of skin whiteners from June 14 to 17 in Cagayan de Oro, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Iligan, Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga showed that 75 of 93 brands were contaminated with mercury in the scale of 15 to 23,000 parts per million.
Ecowaste Coalition Photo
Toxic skin whiteners sold in Mindanao — environment group
Rhodina Villanueva (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — An environmental watchdog has alerted local government officials on the sale of mercury-laden skin whiteners in at least seven cities in Mindanao.

The EcoWaste Coalition said test buys of skin whiteners from June 14 to 17 in Cagayan de Oro, Oroquieta, Ozamiz, Iligan, Dipolog, Pagadian and Zamboanga showed that 75 of 93 brands were contaminated with mercury in the scale of 15 to 23,000 parts per million.

The allowable amount under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive as well as the Minamata Convention on Mercury is only 1 ppm.

EcoWaste said the products were smuggled from China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan and did not undergo quality and safety assessment by the Food and Drug Administration.

“We appeal to concerned city officials, especially to newly elected or reelected mayors, to act with urgency to stop the sale of mercury-laced skin whitening products,” Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical safety campaigner.

“As the Philippines develops its National Action Plan for mercury-added products, we also urge our councilors to consider replicating the Quezon City ordinance banning the production, importation, distribution, and sale of mercury-added skin whitening cosmetics in their area of responsibility,” Dizon added.

He stressed the need not only to promote the health and safety of citizens but also prevent mercury in skin whitening cosmetics from being discharged into wastewater and pollute the environment and food chain.

The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier issued a warning that inorganic mercury in skin whitening soaps and creams might result in kidney damage.

“Mercury in skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring... and reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections,” the WHO said.

TOXIC SKIN WHITENERS
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