Group asks city gov’t to monitor sale of products with mercury
Mitchelle L. Palaubsanon (The Freeman) - February 15, 2015 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - An environmental group based in Quezon City has appealed to the Cebu City government to take action against vendors of contraband cosmetics laden with mercury, a toxic chemical.

EcoWaste Coalition, in a statement, requested the office of Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama to help the Food and Drugs Administration in enforcing the prohibition against the sale of skin whitening cosmetics with mercury content exceeding 1 part per million (ppm).

“We appeal to Mayor Rama to mobilize the city’s health and police inspectors in an all-out drive to have illegal mercury-containing cosmetics removed from store shelves,” said Aileen Lucero, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.

Last Thursday, the coalition released a report entitled “Beauty and the Risk,” indicating the unrestrained sale of mercury-tainted skin whitening products in 50 cities across the country, including the cities of Cebu and Lapu-Lapu.

It said that out of the 355 samples procured by the group from Baguio to Zamboanga, 25 were obtained from Cebu and Lapu-Lapu cities, mostly from beauty product stores and general merchandise stores along Colon Street. 

The FDA had already banned most of these products and would be illegal to sell, Lucero said. The statement added that subsequent analysis of the samples using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) device detected mercury above 1 ppm in 316 samples.

“All samples from Cebu were found laced with mercury up to 5,969 ppm.  Of the 25 samples from Cebu, 22 had mercury above 1,000 ppm,” the statement reads.

Among the top seven brands in terms of mercury content are Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling and Whitening Cream, Miss Beauty Magic Cream, Shengniya 7 Day Freckle Eliminating, Women of Flower Whitening and Spekle Removing A and B Series,  Young Grace Age Defying Essence, S’Zitang 10 Days Whitening and Spot Day Night Set and  Huayuenong 12 Days Whitening and Spekle Removing Wreckling.

The coalition expressed optimism that the new data would prompt the Cebu City Council into fast-tracking its deliberation and approval of a proposed ordinance authored by Councilor Nida Cabrera to curb the illegal trade of cosmetics laced with toxic mercury in the city.

“The proposed measure, we believe, would deter unscrupulous traders from selling smuggled cosmetics that could put the health and safety of Cebuanos at grave risk,” Lucero added.    —ATO (FREEMAN)

AILEEN LUCERO BEAUTY AND THE RISK CEBU CEBU AND LAPU-LAPU CEBU CITY CEBU CITY COUNCIL CEBU CITY MAYOR MICHAEL RAMA COLON STREET COUNCILOR NIDA CABRERA MERCURY
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