EDITORIAL| Mercury in skin whitening products

A NONGOVERNMENT organization, Ecowaste Coalition, conducted a study across the country on the use of skin whitening products harmful to consumers. Among the cities included in the study is Davao and the results are alarming. There are many products sold here which had high contents of mercury.

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We take the liberty of quoting a part of its conclusion: “As cited earlier, the

 manufacture, importation, selling or offering for sale of cosmetics products without FDA approval or

 found to contain harmful or toxic substances is a direct infringement of Republic Act No. 9711, or the

 Food and Drugs Administration of 2009, and Republic Act No. 7394, or the Consumer Act of the

 Philippines.

“The brazen trade of these skin cosmetics with mercury exceeding the 1 ppm threshold

 limit violates existing cosmetics regulations in the Philippines and the ASEAN bloc, as well as in

 places where the contraband products are believed to have originated such as mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

“The participation of various stakeholders from the different government departments, the cosmetics

industry (from the overseas manufacturers to local importers and downline distributors), medical

associations, the civil society and the media is indispensable for the campaign to rid the market of

dangerous cosmetics to succeed.

“Also, the Philippines acting alone cannot stop the smuggling of

 mercury-loaded cosmetics into its porous borders. It has to address the problem through bilateral

 and multilateral initiatives within and outside the ASEAN to put an end to the unlawful trade. The

 onset of the ASEAN market integration in 2015 provides an opportunity to draw attention to the

 lingering problem and push for collaborative action to stop the illegal trade towards the early

 implementation of the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

Posted in Opinion