By Analou De Vera
An environmental watchdog said a skin-lightening product containing high levels of mercury is still being sold in the different markets in Metro Manila.
The EcoWaste Coalition said S’Zitang 10 Days Eliminating Freckle Day & Night Set is still visible in seven cities in the metropolis, despite being banned recently by health authorities.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in its advisory 2018-183 has warned the public against the distribution, sale and use of the said product after finding it to be laden with mercury above the trace amount limit of one part per million (ppm) as per the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
The group’s test buys found out that S’Zitang is being sold for P75 to P150 by Chinese drug stores, herbal supplement stores and beauty product stores in the cities of Caloocan, Makati, Manila, Parañaque, Pasay, Pasig and Quezon.
“Despite stern warning from the FDA, unscrupulous retailers continue to sell S’Zitang, which is damaging to human health as well as the environment because of its mercury content,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.
The group said that long exposure to mercury can harm the kidneys, the brain, and the central nervous system, and may also result in skin discoloration, rashes, scarring and other side effects.
“To bring this unlawful trade to a halt, we urge the FDA to make good on their threat, seize the banned product, and prosecute the violators to the full extent of the law,” Dizon said.