Group finds mercury in 45 whitening creams

At least 45 skin whitening cream products tainted with mercury were found sold in nine cities, an ecological group said Sunday.

The EcoWaste Coalition said the samples cost between P20 and P480 each, and were found in Metro Manila, Cavite, Cebu and Davao.

“Users of these toxic creams should know that they are putting their own health, as well as the health of the people around them, at risk. Non-users, especially babies and young children, can be exposed to mercury when they inhale the vapors generated by the products, touch soiled items, kiss or pat a user’s skin and then put their fingers in their mouth,” said group coordinator Aileen Lucero.

According to the group, it found the items for sale in Makati, Manila, ParaƱaque, Pasay and Quezon Cities; and in DasmariƱas, Imus, Cebu and Davao Cities.

It said it has notified the FDA of its findings.

The group warned mercury may have toxic effects with symptoms including nervousness and irritability, difficulty with concentration, headache, tremors, memory loss, depression, insomnia, weight loss, fatigue and numbness or tingling in hands, feet, or around the lips.

It said an analysis using a portable X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) spectrometer found mercury above the 1 part per million (ppm) allowable limit under the ASEAN Cosmetics Directive in 45 products, including:

- Yudantang 10 Days Sheep Essence & Ginseng & Green Cucumber Specific Eliminating Freckle Spot & Whitening Sun Block Cream with 41,800 ppm
- Yudantang 6 Days Green Cucumber & Ginseng Specific Eliminating Freckle Whitening Cream with 39,500 ppm
- Hengxueqian Whitening Set with 21,800 of mercury.

The group said eight of the 45 were among the 16 brands banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) last July 17. Several others were banned as early as 2010.

However, 11 are not yet included in the list of 93 skin whitening creams banned by the FDA, the group said.

It sought the inclusion of these 11 products in the FDA's black list. These include:

- Zhjren Whitening Ruddy Combination Suit, 18,000 ppm
- Zhjren 7 Day Beauty Elegant Moisturizing and Whitening Day Cream, 17,200 ppm
- Erna Whitening Cream, 6,509 ppm
- White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence Powerful Spot Remover, 3,406 ppm
- Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling and Whitening Cream, 3,042
- Gemli Freckles Cream, 2,656 ppm
- Jiaoli Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream, 2,095 ppm
- Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Anti-Freckle Set, 1,869 ppm
- Angel Placenta Whitening Cream, 1,369 ppm
- Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream, 1,240 ppm
- LMSER Whitening Cream, 423 ppm

Meanwhile, the group found some samples had no market authorization from the FDA and were excluded in the agency’s “list of notified cosmetic products.” These include:

- Baschi Day and Night Cream (mini trial set)
- Baschi Whitening Cream, Erna SPF (beige color)
- Erna SPF (pink ceramic color)
- Royalsuffi Fade-Out Day Cream
- Top Shirley Nourishing Cream
- Yi Lu Mei Activating Pock-Removing Beautifying Essence
- Yu Yan Excellent Intensive Night Cream and several types of Yoko Whitening Cream.

— LBG, GMA News



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