A non-profit watch group tracking poisonous chemicals in products and wastes has notified the local government of Davao City about the unlawful sale of mercury-tainted skin whitening cosmetics that pose health risks to Davaoeños, especially to users who are predominantly women.
Through a letter sent to Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio, the EcoWaste Coalition reported the blatant sale of Goree, Jiaoli, S’Zitang and Yu Dan Tang skin whitening products previously banned by the Food and Drug Administration for containing violative levels of mercury, which is harmful to human health even in small amounts.
The FDA Mindanao East Cluster has already signified its plan to conduct surveillance activities in collaboration with the mayor’s office and the Philippine National Police.
Citing information from the World Health Organization, the group informed the city mayor that mercury in skin lightening can damage the nervous, immune and renal systems; cause skin discoloration, rashes, and scarring; and reduce skin resistance to bacterial and fungal infections,. It can also contaminate the environment when mercury is discharged into wastewater.
“To our shock and disbelief, the banned products are openly displayed and sold in the stores we visited. We deplore the unabated sale of mercury-tainted skin whitening products by some cosmetic dealers in Davao City in brazen defiance of the nationwide ban on such highly injurious items,” said Thony Dizon, EcoWaste Coalition’s chemical safety campaigner.
“The looming crackdown on peddlers of hazardous skin lightening cosmetics in Davao City, we hope, will put a stop to this illegal trade for the sake of human health and the environment,” he added.
Test buys conducted by an EcoWaste visiting team on April 2 and 3 netted 12 samples of banned skin whitening products imported from Pakistan, mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, respectively.
The items were procured from four cosmetic stores, one Chinese drug store and one department store.