Public interest group, the EcoWaste Coalition, has announced that despite efforts to rid the Philippine markets of mercury laden cosmetics, nine Chinese drug stores and beauty shops in Manila were found to be selling contaminated skin whitening products.
It comes just months after the same organization revealed similar test results from a study conducted in Quezon City, Philippines.
The Coalition’s monitoring group 'AlerToxic Patrol' took vendors to task in Binondo, Quiapo and Santa Cruz for ignoring the government’s directive banning cosmetics with mercury above the one part per million (ppm) “allowable limit.”
The watchdog found no less than seven of the banned 71 items being openly sold in the aforementioned areas, including one ‘Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A and B Cream’ that contained 63,516 ppm of mercury.
This comes only a week after the Philippines FDA and the Coalition collectively seized 120 boxes of mercury-laden cosmetics in Baclaran and barely a month after the Administration expanded its list of banned cosmetics.
According to the FDA's health advisory, the chronic use of mercury-laced cosmetics “reduces skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections.”
Other reactions include anything from skin burns, rashes, or discoloration and scarring, whilst the absorption of high levels in a short period of time may even lead to severe gastroenteritis, burning mouth pain, abdominal pain, or vomiting.
Amongst those found on store shelves in Quiapo were 'Jiaoli Miraculous Cream', 'Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream' and 'Miss Beauty Magic Cream'.
In Binondo and Sta. Cruz, the monitoring group also uncovered a ‘Special Cream' labeled in Chinese characters, Miao Eng Liliki Whitening Day and Night Cream and Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A and B Cream.
Also on sale in Quiapo was 'Bihuayn Whitening Cream', which the Coalition tested back in September and found it to contain 12,600 ppm of mercury, a product it says the FDA has yet to ban.
“We deplore this shameless disregard for consumer health and welfare by some traders as if exposure to mercury in cosmetics is not a serious threat to health at all,” says the Coalition’s Aileen Lucero.
"Such defiance points to the urgency of passing the draft city ordinance banning and penalizing the sale of mercury-laden cosmetics in Manila," she added.