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A Toxics-Free Future

Group Warns Consumers Against Toxic Skin Cream

Beware: A skin whitening cream products made in Malaysia that the government of Brunei recently banned due to its mercury content are being offered for sale in Quiapo, Manila.

The EcoWaste Coalition, a toxics watch group, alerted the public following the dissemination last March 26 of the Asean Post-Marketing Alert System (PMAS) report by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the mercury-laden Temulawak New Day and Night Beauty Whitening Cream.

According to the PMAS report, Temulawak, which is made in Malaysia, was banned from the market by the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Brunei after being found positive for mercury by the Department of Pharmaceutical Services.

“Temulawak is among the skin whitening cosmetics we bought in July 2017 and subjected to chemicals screening that detected 1,128 parts per million (ppm) of mercury on the night cream, way above the allowable limit of 1 ppm,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

The group obtained the skin whitening set from a specialty store in Quiapo that sells food and health products imported from Indonesia and Malaysia.

“We actually brought this to the attention of the government through the presentation we did at a mercury workshop conducted last year by the Environmental Management Bureau where the FDA also took part,” Dizon said. 

Brunei’s MoH said “mercury is prohibited in cosmetic products due to its hazardous effects on human health,” adding “it is readily absorbed through the skin on topical application and tends to accumulate in the body.”

“Exposure to mercury can cause skin rashes, memory loss and muscle weakness while high exposures may result in damage to the brain and kidneys. It is also extremely toxic to unborn children,” it further warned.