EcoWaste Coalition warns public on ‘poisonous’ lipsticks
MANILA, Philippines — Environment watchdog EcoWaste Coalition on Wednesday warned lipstick lovers from using adulterated and misbranded lipsticks that could be laden with lead and other chemicals that are hazardous to health.
The warning was issued after the group was able to screen 115 lipstick samples of 11 different brands and found that more than half or 61 of the samples contained harmful amounts of lead.
“The levels of lead in these lipsticks are way beyond the permissible limit and, without a shred of doubt, a serious safety concern,” Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said in a statement.
EcoWaste said the 61 samples contained lead concentrations above the 20 parts per million (ppm) limit as stated under the Asean Cosmetic Directive (ACD).
Of the 61 samples, 41 contained lead above 1,000 ppm, with levels ranging from 1,026 to 44,800 ppm, EcoWaste said.
“Teen girls and adult women should avoid these poison lipsticks as lead, a cumulative toxicant, can build up in the body over time with frequent application of such lipsticks. There is no safe level of lead exposure,” Dizon said.
The samples were bought for P10 to P50 each from cosmetic vendors in Baclaran, Cubao, Divisoria, and Quiapo on Feb. 5, 7 and 8. None of the samples were notified or registered with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
EcoWaste said that aside from lead, some samples were also positive for mercury (32 samples), arsenic (53 samples), and cadmium (10 samples) in excess of the ACD’s trace amount limits for these heavy metals (1 ppm for mercury, and 5 ppm for both arsenic and cadmium).
Exposure to toxic chemicals could cause a host of health problems including damage to the brain and central nervous system, hormonal changes and menstrual irregularities, infertility in both women and men, birth defects and even cancer, EcoWaste said.
Samples of Qianxu lipstick and MAC imitation lipstick topped the list of products with dangerously high concrentrations of lead.
The lipsticks which registered the highest levels of lead contaminant include:
1. Qianxiu Hello Kitty #01 (pink canister) – 44,800 ppm
2. Fake MAC Mariah Carey #02 (brown canister) – 38,900 ppm
3. Qianxiu Hello Kitty #10 (black canister) – 28,700 ppm
4. Fake MAC Mariah Carey #06 (red canister) – 12,600 ppm
5. Qianxiu Unicorn #10 – 11,900 ppm
6. Fake MAC Zacposen Rudy Woo #12 – 9,571 ppm
7. Fake MAC Charm Red Lips Rudy Woo #12 – 8,788 ppm
8. Qianxiu Fashion #01 – 6,013 ppm
9. Baby Lips Perfect Match – 3,187 ppm
10. Monaliza Series #10 – 1,808 ppm
Noting that these lipsticks are imported, EcoWaste urged the government to strengthen border controls to prevent the entry of such harmful cosmetics.
“We also think that national and local government agencies should conduct nonstop law enforcement activities, including on-the-spot confiscation of contraband items and preventive closure of erring business establishments, to rid the market of toxic cosmetics,” Dizon said.
EcoWaste said that the next Congress could enact a special law on counterfeit cosmetics which would impose heavy fines and penalties that would make it unprofitable for manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers to engage in dealing toxic cosmetics. /jpv
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