MANILA, Philippines–The name itself sounds like a product built on lies.
A consumer safety watch group has warned the public against “Feique,” a mercury-laden cosmetics brand already banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), but which is still being sold in 50 cities nationwide.
Another brand, “Beauty Girl,” has been proven to be a misnomer, being another brand already banned but still on the shelves, according to EcoWaste Coalition.
Forty-one of over 100 brands that have been stopped by the FDA from being marketed in the last five years are still on food and herbal supplement shops, general merchandise stores and Chinese drugstores nationwide, particularly in Manila, Baguio City, Cebu and Zamboanga, said EcoWaste national coordinator Aileen Lucero.
Lucero said the group has detected mercury in 316 different skin whitening products in the market. The highest level found was at 96,100 parts per million (ppm), way above the national and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regulatory limit of just 1 ppm.
According to Dr. Visitacion Antonio of the East Avenue Medical Center in Quezon City, mercury affects major organs like the brain, liver and kidneys and has been categorized as carcinogenic by the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
Antonio said applying facial creams and other beauty products loaded with mercury will cause skin irritations like rashes, but constant use could lead to more serious health threats not only to the user but to her future baby.
The FDA, in an advisory posted on its website, has listed a new set of lipstick brands and whitening sprays that have no authorization from the FDA.
The flagged cosmetic brands include Baolishi Lipstick No. 20, Miss Beauty New Formulized Moisture Lipstick No. 2, Monaliza Series Lipstick No. 5 and Miss Beauty BB Spray UV Resistance Whitening Spray.
The FDA said these products were found to have high levels of lead content beyond the 20-ppm limit set by the Asean Cosmetic Directives as the acceptable limit.–Jeannette I. Andrade, Tina G. Santos and Rima Granali