‘Toxic beauty parade’ held in Manila
MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to increase public awareness of mercury-laced beauty products, an environmentalist group held a “toxic beauty parade” Wednesday morning through the streets of Manila’s Chinatown, from the Binondo Church to the Quiapo Church.
So if you saw “beauty queens” with umbrellas festooned with boxes of recalled cosmetic products, and carrying skull-and-crossbone scepters, you were not having a heat stroke. That was just EcoWaste Coalition reminding the public that the government has issued a directive banning skin whiteners with “elevated levels of mercury.”
“We braved the hot morning sun to tell formal as well as informal dealers that selling recalled mercury-tainted skin whitening products is both illegal and unethical. We’ve also gone out of the streets to remind consumers to be extra careful with what they apply onto their skins as this may lead to serious ailments,” said Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition’s safe-cosmetics campaigner in a statement.
The group went around Chinese drug stores, reminding vendors that last week, the Food and Drug Administration banned 23 skin whitening preparations, bringing to 50 the list of recalled products found to contain mercury beyond the regulatory limit of 1 part per million (ppm).
The group handed out copies of an FDA advisory warning vendors that selling the recalled products is illegal.
The group quoted Dr. Bessie Antonio, President of the Philippine Society of Clinical and Occupational Toxicology as saying that skin contact with mercury-tainted cosmetics can cause serious skin problems, including discoloration, inflammation, itchiness and tiny bumps, and if repeatedly applied, “can eventually damage the brain and the kidneys.”
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