EcoWaste: Beware of unregistered hygiene, sanitation products
MANILA, Philippines — As the country grapples with the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, pro-environment group EcoWaste Coalition warned consumers of the presence of unregistered rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer products in the market and online shopping sites.
In a statement on Tuesday, EcoWaste urged the public to exercise vigilance when purchasing rubbing alcohol and hand sanitizer products during this period of public health crisis brough about by COVID-19, which has so far infected 462 in the Philippines.
“Consumers should be on their guard against the spread of unregistered rubbing alcohol and unnotified hand sanitizers in the market, including online stores, as the COVID-19 crisis deepens,” Thony Dizon, the group’s chemical safety campaigner, said.
“Using these unverified products, the safety and efficacy of which is questionable, may give consumers a false sense of security in the time of coronavirus,” he added.
The group’s reminder to consumers comes after Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Director General Rolando Enrique Domingo issued two successive advisories against the consumption of topical antiseptics and antibacterials lacking the required Certificate of Product Registration, and hand sanitizers with no Certificate of Product Notification.
Through FDA Advisory 2020-422, the agency enjoined consumers “to be vigilant in the purchase and use of these types of products in light of proliferation of unregistered/unnotified products during this time when a state of calamity has been declared due to COVID-19 threat in the country.”
The said advisory also provides updated lists of notified hand sanitizers and registered topical antiseptics and antibacterials, including rubbing alcohol, to guide consumers in making informed purchasing decisions.
Prior to this, the FDA advised consumers “to be mindful of (online) transactions” as it warned of “unscrupulous individuals who are taking advantage of this situation for personal gain.”
“Among those reported to be sold online are products that are unregistered/unnotified hand sanitizers, antiseptics, antibacterials, and other toxic chemicals with unverified claims regarding the elimination of COVID-19,” the FDA had said.
The FDA also advised consumers to carefully check product labeling information, including the country of origin, name and address of the company that placed the product on the market, manufacturing or expiry date, product batch number, ingredients’ list, instructions for use and precautionary warnings.
EcoWaste said it earlier alerted the FDA about the unlawful sale in Paco, Manila of an inadequately labeled and unnotified hand sanitizers, which has been subsequently referred to the Regulatory Enforcement Unit for action.
The group, last March 12, also wrote to the FDA to make available to the public a summary list of duly registered or notified antiseptic and disinfectant products that are effective and safe to use, including rubbing alcohol (ethyl and isopropyl), alcohol spray, “alcogel,” “alcologne,” hand sanitizing gel, disinfecting wipes, and similar products.
EcoWaste’s request, the group noted, was made in line with the state policy under the Consumer Act of the Philippines which aims “to protect the interests of the consumer and promote his general welfare,” particularly the consumer right to information to facilitate sound choice, and the right to be protected against hazards to health and safety.
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