Sale of beauty creams with high mercury content hit

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental watchdog EcoWaste Coalition has urged authorities in Cebu City to stop the sale of imported whitening creams earlier banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) due to high mercury content.

The group identified two of these cream brands as Jiaoli and S’Zitang, both imported from China.

“Importation, distribution and sale of these Jiaoli and S’Zitang products from China have long been prohibited to protect consumers and even non-consumers like babies in the womb from the effects of mercury, a highly toxic chemical banned in cosmetic product formulations,” EcoWaste national coordinator Aileen Lucero said over the weekend.

During a test-buy conducted on May 14, the group was able to purchase six Jiaoli and S’Zitang facial creams for P75 to P150 each from several stalls located in a mall on Colon street.

The group said two variants each of Jiaoli and S’Zitang creams were banned by the FDA in 2010, and 2015 and 2018, respectively, due to cosmetic safety violations.

The EcoWaste said the samples from Cebu City were screened in Quezon City using the X-Ray Fluorescence quick analyzer for heavy metals like mercury.

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The group said the Philippines, as an ASEAN member-state, complies with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, which in 2007 included mercury and its compounds on the list of substances that should not be used in cosmetic products.

It cited the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which bans the manufacture, import or export of cosmetic products containing mercury beyond the allowed limit.

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