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Group: 13 'new' skin whitening products found with mercury


At least 13 "new" skin-whitening products being sold in Manila and Makati Cities have tested positive for mercury, a substance that can pose a danger to health, an ecological group said Tuesday. EcoWaste Coalition alerted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on the products, whose mercury content it said can damage the kidneys and the nervous system, and interfere with brain development in fetuses and young children. "None of the samples listed mercury as an ingredient, and all are not yet included in the list of 50 skin whitening products that the FDA banned in 2010-2011 for containing excessive amounts of mercury," the group said. EcoWaste campaigner Aileen Lucero said the group has notified the FDA about the sale of such mercury-tainted products. "These products are dangerous and should not be sold to uninformed consumers,” said Lucero. East Avenue Medical Center toxicologist Dr. Bessie Antonio also noted even those not using the mercury-laced skin whitening products can be exposed to poison. Antonio said a child can inhale the mercury vapor or even directly ingest it if he or she touches a person who used the cream and then place his or her hands into his or her mouth. 13 samples EcoWaste said that of 14 samples it gathered, 13 had excessive levels of mercury from 550 parts per million (ppm) to 60,800 ppm. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations Cosmetics directive allows only 1 ppm of mercury in cosmetic products. The 13 samples included: 1. Feique Whitening Anti-Freckle Cream manufactured/distributed by GLDJB (Harbin) Cosmetics Ltd., China; bought for P60 from stall IA 43-45, 168 Mall, Divisoria, Manila; 16,000 ppm of mercury 2. Feique Golden Aloe Whitening Anti-Scar, Anti Freckle Set manufactured/distributed by GLDJB (Harbin)Cosmetics Ltd., China; bought for P60 from stall IA 43-45, 168 Mall, Divisoria, Manila; 25,000 ppm of mercury 3. Feique Green Tea Vital Whitening Freckle-Removing Cream manufactured/distributed by GLDJB (Harbin) Cosmetics Ltd., China; bought for P150 from stall IA 43-45, 168 Mall, Divisoria, Manila; 15,800 ppm of mercury 4. Bai Li Tou Hong manufactured/distributed by (not indicated in English); bought for P150 from stall IA 43-45, 168 Mall,Divisoria, Manila; 46,700 ppm of mercury 5. Maidaifu Herbal Moisturizing and Whitening Cream manufactured/distributed by (not indicated in English); bought for P180 from Stall IA-45, 168 Mall, Divisoria, Manila; 60,800 ppm of mercury 6. Green Cucumber and Ginseng 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Set manufactured/distributed by Yudantang International, Taiwan; bought for P120 from stall IR-24, 168Mall, Divisoria); 9,414 ppm of mercury 7. Loreial Paris Anti-Freckle Cream Suit manufactured/distributed by (not indicated on the label); bought for P120 from stall IB 2-4 999 Shopping Mall, Divisoria, Manila; 1,371 ppm of mercury 8. Aichun Beauty Strongly WhiteningFreckle Series (3 in one) manufactured/distributed by France Sasa (HK) International Group Ltd./Livepro Beauty Cosmetics Co. Ltd., China; bought for P98 from G2 Beauty Products, Villalobos St., Quiapo, Manila; 550 ppm of mercury 9. “Special Cream” (double, label in Chinese) manufactured/distributed by (not indicated in English); bought for P80 from stall G-162 Good Earth Mall, Bustos St., Sta. Cruz, Manila; 1,565 ppm of mercury 10. “Special Cream” (single, label in Chinese)manufactured/distributed by (not indicated in English); bought for P80 from Famous Chinese Drug Store, Recto Ave. near Rizal Ave., Sta. Cruz, Manila; 1,378 ppm of mercury 11. Yudantang Ginseng and Ganoderma Lucidum 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Sun Block Cream manufactured/distributed by Yudantang International, Taiwan; bought for P140 from Rose and Fujikura General Merchandise, Uni-Mec Supermarket, Guadalupe, Makati City; 31,300 ppm of mercury 12. Aichun Beauty Green Tea Whitening Speckle Removing Series (3 in one) manufactured/distributed by France Sasa (HK) International Group Ltd./Livepro Beauty Cosmetic Co. Ltd., China; bought for P90 from G2 Beauty Products, Carriedo St., Quiapo, Manila; 1,250 ppm of mercury 13. Aichun Beauty Pawpaw Whitening and Freckle Remover Series (3 in one) manufactured/distributed by France Sasa (HK) International Group Ltd./Livepro Beauty Cosmetic Co. Ltd., China; bought for P90 from G2 Beauty Products, Carriedo St., Quiapo, Manila; 867 ppm of mercury According to the group, it bought samples of the products priced between P60 to P180 between June 16 and 18 from cosmetics stalls and Chinese drug stores located in Binondo, Divisoria, Quiapo and Sta. Cruz, Manila and in Guadalupe, Makati. The group suggested to the FDA some points of action: 1. Issue a new advisory banning skin whitening products for containing mercury above the allowable limit of 1 ppm. 2. Conduct law enforcement activities to rid the market of such cosmetics containing dangerous levels of mercury and without the benefit of notification with the FDA. 3. Publish a consumer education material that will inform users about the health hazards posed by mercury-containing cosmetics. 4. Encourage victims of mercury exposure from skin whitening products to come forward and tell their stories. The group noted symptoms of mercury poisoning include irritability, shyness, tremors, changes in vision or hearing, memory problems, depression and numbness and tingling in hands, feet or around mouth. Meanwhile, the group cautioned consumers from throwing cosmetics that may contain mercury into trash bins. “Discarded mercury-containing cosmetics fall under household hazardous waste and should be managed, stored and disposed of in an environmentally-sound way,” it said. — LBG, GMA News
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