Toxics watchdog warns public vs 'hazardous' skin whitening products being sold online

Published September 15, 2021, 7:43 AM

by Joseph Pedrajas

At least nine skin whitening products containing mercury are still being sold on various e-commerce sites despite being hazardous to people, a pro-health and environment group has reported.

Toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition called on various online shopping sites “to remove product listings for mercury-laden skin whitening cosmetics long proscribed by the authorities” in a bid “to protect human health and the environment.”

Although some of the sites already removed other mercury-laden products on its website, such as sphygmomanometers and thermometers, following the group’s discovery, the platforms “are still flooded with hundreds of product listings for mercury-laced” in a form of skin whiteners, the group said.

“We have found over 280 product listings for skin lightening cosmetics, particularly facial creams, that have been banned by our health authorities for lacking market authorization and/or for containing mercury, which is a forbidden ingredient in cosmetic product formulations,” Thony Dizon, the group’s chemical safety campaigner, said in a recent statement.

“Online shopping sites must stop wholesalers and retailers from using their platforms to engage in the illegal trade of mercury-containing skin whiteners that pose serious health risks,” he added.

Among the products flagged by the group were: Golden Pearl Beauty Cream (old and new packaging) and Goree Beauty Cream (with two variants).

According to the group, the Food and Drugs Administration already banned these products through Advisory Nos. 2013-053-A and 2017-289, respectively.

Also flagged are Ailke Perfection Salvation Rosy Whitening A+B, Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream, Feique Herbal Whitening Cream, Jiaoli (with three variants), S’Zitang (with two variants), Temulawak Day & Night Cream and Yu Dan Tang (with two variants).

The World Health Organization issued a warning that “mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health.”

Adverse health effects associated with the use of such products include skin rashes, discoloration and scarring. Aside from reducing skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections, direct and extended exposure to mercury during the repeated use of such products can harm the brain, the nervous system and the kidneys, EcoWaste said.