Mirror, mirror on the wall, are those beauty creams safe at all?By Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines – Several skin-whitening products bought in Divisoria have been found to contain the toxic substance mercury.
EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement released Tuesday that they examined the skin-whitening products bought from Divisoria Monday and found some to contain as high as 46,200 parts per million (ppm) of mercury. The safe allowable limit of mercury is one ppm.
“We deplore the sale of these dangerous cosmetics to unsuspecting consumers. To help stop the illegal trade, we request the City Council to speed up the enactment of a pending ordinance that seeks to stop the illegal sale of injurious mercury-containing cosmetics in Manila with harsh penalties,” Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect said.
The products were bought “for P120 to P240 each from beauty product shops in 168 Shopping Mall and 999 Shopping Mall, in one retail shop in Roman St. and in one Chinese drug store at the corner of Recto Avenue and Roman St., Divisoria,” the statement said.
Mercury can cause kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration, scarring, and also reduce the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections. It also poses a threat to the body’s cardiovascular, digestive, nervous, and respiratory system, the statement said quoting the World Health Organization (WHO).
Mercury also poses even when thrown away, WHO further said. “The mercury enters the environment, where it becomes methylated and enters the food-chain as the highly toxic methylmercury in fish. Pregnant women who consume fish containing methylmercury transfer the mercury to their fetuses, which can later result in neurodevelopmental deficits in the children,” it said.
EcoWaste Coalition used a portable X-Ray Flourescence spectrometer to detect excessive amounts of mercury in the products.
Beauty Girl Ginseng & Green Cucumber 10 Days Double Whitening Speckles Removed Essence had 46,200 ppm of mercury while Yudantang Milk & Papaya 10 Days Whitening Speckles Removed Essence had 11,300 ppm of mercury. Both were bought from Benson Chinese Drug Store at Recto Avenue corner Roman Street.
Sara Glutathione Sheep Placenta Whitening and Anti-Spot Cream had 3,933 ppm of mercury. It was bought at 999 Shopping Mall.
Beauty Girl Egg White & Tomato 6 Days Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream was found to contain 3,592 ppm of mercury while Liliki Whitening Day Cream 911 had 133 ppm of mercury. These were bought in 168 Shopping Mall.
Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream (Blue) had 2,207 ppm of mercury while Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream (Purple) had 1,343 ppm of mercury. Both were bought at 1005 Roman Street.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had already recalled some of the products in 2010 and others in 2011, EcoWaste said.
“The sale of imported mercury-laced skin whitening products in the domestic market continues notwithstanding efforts to have them removed for consumer health and safety,” it added.