At Least 12 FDA-warned Skin Whiteners are Still Sold Online
9 October 2022, Quezon City. As the 10.10 online shopping sale goes in full swing tomorrow amid the ongoing commemoration of the Consumer Welfare Month this October, the toxics watchdog group EcoWaste Coalition urged e-commerce stakeholders to take action to stop the continuing online sale of dangerous cosmetics containing mercury.
“For the nth time, we appeal to e-commerce stakeholders, particularly to online shopping platforms and sellers, as well as to regulatory agencies, to protect online consumers against hazardous products such as banned skin lightening cosmetics laden with mercury,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition.
“Even with the issuance of the Philippine Guidelines for Online Businesses early this year, the unlawful trade of these health-damaging cosmetics persists,” she lamented. “When will it end?” she asked.
The illegal trade, Lucero said, is not only an obvious violation of domestic laws such as RA 9711 (Food and Drug Administration Act) and RA 7394 (Consumer Act), but also a direct disregard of the 2020 global phase-out under the Minamata Convention on Mercury of cosmetics with mercury content above one part per million (ppm) like skin lightening creams and soaps.
The EcoWaste Coalition, which has been tracking and exposing the unlawful sale of mercury-containing cosmetics since 2011, repeated its plea for action after monitoring product listings for such banned cosmetics in both Lazada and Shopee ahead of the 10.10 online sales.
Based on the monitoring conducted on October 8, cosmetics banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for containing mercury and/or for lacking market authorization continue to be advertised and sold with impunity.
Despite the public health warnings issued by the FDA, at least 12 variants of mercury-containing cosmetics– Ailke, Collagen Plus Vit E, Erna, Feique, Golden Pearl, Goree, Jiaoli, Parley and S’Zitang facial creams are still offered for sale online, the EcoWaste Coalition discovered.
“We need to stop the use of e-commerce to distribute, sell and deliver these cosmetics that pose imminent danger or injury to human health, especially to women and babies in the womb, due to their undisclosed mercury content,” she emphasized.
Toward this, the group urged online sellers to be law-abiding and avoid listing violations. It likewise asked online shopping platforms to quickly delete listings of prohibited items and to freeze or ban the accounts of defiant sellers.
Last August 8, 2022, the EcoWaste Coalition submitted to the FDA a 100-page product listing in Lazada and Shopee for mercury-contaminated and/or unauthorized cosmetics.
In line with the Philippine Guidelines for Online Businesses as contained in the Joint Administrative Order (JAO) 22-01 issued on March 4, 2022, online businesses have the responsibility to protect and uphold the interest of consumers against products and services that pose hazards to their health and safety.
The said JAO seeks to ensure that e-commerce platforms, e-retailers and others are properly guided about the rules, regulations and responsibilities in the conduct of their online commercial activities. It further seeks to ensure that online consumers are informed of their rights and the mechanisms for redress.
The order was signed by officials of the Departments of Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Health, and Trade and Industry, as well as the Intellectual Property Office and the National Privacy Commission.
Examples of Product Listings for FDA-Warned Skin Whitening Cosmetics still available on online e-commerce platforms such as Shopee and Lazada (as downloaded on October 8, 2022)
1. Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene and Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream
2. Ailke Perfect Salvation Rosy Whitening A+B Cream
3. Collagen Plus Vit E Day & Night Cream
4. Erna Whitening Cream
5. Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Anti-Freckle Set
6. Golden Pearl Beauty Cream
7. Jiaoli Miraculous Cream
8. Jiaoli7-Day Eliminating Freckle AB Set
9. Parley Beauty Cream
10. Parley Goldie Advanced Beauty Cream
11. S’Zitang 7-Day Specific Whitening and Spot AB Set
12. S’Zitang 10-Day Whitening and Spot Day & Night Set