Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Online sites urged to stop selling hazardous skin whitening products

On the eve of the “2.”2 online shopping sales, the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition reprimanded online shopping sites for their failure to rid their platforms of products containing hazardous substances such as mercury.

Despite restricted item policies, third-party online sellers are still able to advertise and sell products that have been banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for lacking market authorization or for containing mercury above the one part per million (ppm) limit, the group lamented.

“The unethical and unlawful online sale of unauthorized mercury-containing products that claim to lighten the skin tone and treat dermal problems ranging from uneven skin tone, blotches, freckles, age spots, wrinkles to acne continues to persist,” said Aileen Lucero, national coordinator at EcoWaste Coalition.

“This deplorable situation has not stopped despite the government’s efforts to regulate online businesses and transactions to promote a fair and safe e-marketplace.”  

“E-commerce platforms and concerned regulatory agencies must act with determination to put an end to such anomalous trade that is putting the health of consumers, their families and the environment at risk of mercury contamination,” she said.

“Aside from ensuring a mercury- and toxics-free shopping, we also call e-commerce sites to eliminate excessive plastic packaging to reduce plastic waste,” she added.

The EcoWaste Coalition, which has been tracking and exposing trade in cosmetics containing mercury since 2011, reiterated the need for urgent action following the monitoring it conducted today targeting product listings for FDA-banned or warned skin care cosmetics.

Like in previous monitoring activities, the group found dozens of product listings for banned cosmetics from Pakistan such as the three variants of Goree Beauty Cream (Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream, and Goree Gold 24K Gold Beauty Cream), Golden Pearl Beauty Cream and Parley Goldie Advance Beauty Cream, which were the subjects of FDA public health warnings issued from 2017 to 2023.

The group also monitored FDA-warned cosmetics from Thailand, including 88 Total White Underarm Cream, Snow White Armpit Whitening Underarm Cream, and 4K Plus Whitening Night Cream, which the FDA banned between 2021 to 2023.

Also found on sale were China-made Ailke, Feique Jiaoli and S’Zitang skin care cosmetics, which the FDA prohibited through various advisories issued between 2010 to 2022.

Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream reportedly smuggled from Indonesia, which the FDA banned in 2017 and 2021, are likewise being sold online.

Notwithstanding the release of the Philippine Guidelines for Online Businesses in March 2022 reiterating the responsibility of online businesses to protect the interest of consumers against products that pose hazards to their health and safety, the unethical and unlawful online trade of mercury-containing cosmetics has not stopped, the EcoWaste Coalition pointed out.

To avoid mercury exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition is urging the public to embrace natural skin tone and reject chemical whiteners, which tend to reinforce colorism or the discrimination based on skin color.


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