FDA says Baguio is dumping ground for unregistered cosmetics
BAGUIO CITY, Philippines–Health officials have warned consumers here against the use of cosmetics that did not pass through government evaluation, saying this city is becoming the dumping ground for unregistered skin care and beauty products.
Saturnina Pandosen, regulation officer of the Food and Drug Administration in Cordillera, said their investigation showed that unregistered cosmetics products, like facial cream and lipstick, are being sold in the market and sidewalks stalls here.
“We are becoming a dumping ground because we are the business center in the Cordillera. These products did not undergo tests and evaluation by the FDA,” Pandosen said in a news briefing here on Tuesday.
She said retailers use rented vans to transport these products from the wholesale market in Baclaran in Parañaque City and a mall in Divisoria also in Manila to Baguio outlets and even sidewalk vendors.
About 50 imported products are on the FDA’s list of questionable products because these have not been registered with the agency, have no brand labels and sometimes bear markings written in foreign languages or characters that have no English translations, said Pandosen.
“These products are openly sold in the market. There is an order for us to seize these products and subject them to analysis to determine their [chemical makeup],” she said.
The FDA said smuggled and unlicensed cosmetics products may contain excessive levels of mercury, lead, arsenic and cadmium. China is one of the countries that manufacture these products, the agency said in a fact sheet.
The FDA also said these products may also contain disease-causing organisms that may result in dermatitis and may contain chemicals that cause skin irritation.
It said licensed cosmetics sold in the market should bear clear information about the product, including its composition.
Pandosen said the agency was alarmed because they found out that products dumped in Baguio have also been traded in upland communities of the Cordillera.
For example, lipsticks have become attractive items because each is sold for P10.
Pandosen said the FDA has received complaints from residents of Buguias, a vegetable town in Benguet province. These residents were sold facial creams and one of them had complained of having a burning sensation on her face after using the product, she said.
“But we could not go after the source of the product because the woman was not issued a receipt,” she said.
She said FDA-registered cosmetics should be properly labeled and sold in licensed stores that have tax identification numbers.
Pandosen said the FDA is also monitoring the sale of food supplements. Not all products that show the mark, “FDA USA Approved,” on their labels are safe for consumption, she said, adding that consumers should look for products bearing the FDA Philippines approval.