Warning sent out on toxic make-up sets for girls

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MANILA, Philippines — The recent Miss Universe pageant may inspire little girls to play beauty queen and use toy cosmetics, but an anti-toxics group warned the public against giving these as Christmas gifts because of their high mercury content.

The EcoWaste Coalition urged consumers not to give “Fashion Girls” and “Pretty Girl” make-up sets to children after sampling 10 items being sold in Divisoria, Manila, at cheap prices ranging from P10 to P50.

“Our investigation shows that some play make-up sets are not safe to play with due to the presence of mercury that can damage the kidneys, reduce skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, as well as cause skin discoloration, rashes and scarring,” Aileen Lucero of the EcoWaste’s Project Protect said in a statement.

“Girls, in particular, are unknowingly exposing themselves to  mercury and other toxic metals when they play actress, princess or Miss Universe and apply unsafe cosmetics to their faces and lips,” she added.

Traces of mercury were detected in 8 of the 10 samples in the range of 3.7 to 554 parts per million (ppm), exceeding the government’s “allowable limit” of 1 ppm for cosmetics.

EcoWaste said tests detected 554 ppm and 198 ppm of mercury in “Pretty Girl” lipstick and blush-on powder while “Fashion Girls” make-up set showed a level of 179 ppm.

Based on the X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) screening results, EcoWaste warned the public against buying the following items:

1. Pretty Girl Beautiful Colors, P40, with 554 ppm mercury;

2. Fashion Girls Make-Up Set, P30, with 179 ppm mercury;

3. Wink Club Beauty Series (small), P10, with 4.4 ppm mercury;

4. Beauty Princess Make-Up Set, P30, with 4.2 ppm mercury;

5. Pretty Girl, P30, with 4.2 ppm mercury;

6. Wink Club Beauty Series (big), P40, with 4.1 ppm mercury;

7. Dream Girl Make-Up Set, P50, with 3.9 ppm mercury; and

8. Dream Angel Make-Up Set, P35, with 3.7 ppm mercury

None of the eight mercury-tainted play cosmetics provided information about their manufacturers or distributors, EcoWaste said.

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