MANILA, Philippines – The manufacturer of Belo Essentials products clarified on Saturday, August 6, that their products no longer contain a cancer-causing ingredient, isobutyl paraben, a chemical banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In a statement sent to Rappler, Intelligent Skin Care Inc (ISCI) said that its supplier, Eurochemicals, had already removed the banned ingredient as early as 2009. It however failed to inform ISCI about it.
As a result, ISCI was "not able to revise and adjust the packaging ingredients list even though it was already free from the material in question."
On June 6 this year, ISCI said it informed the FDA about the removal of the banned ingredient. Two weeks later on June 22, they agreed to "correct all product labels" by the end of August 2016.
As of Saturday, August 6, ISCI said it was "in the process of completing all the corrections on packaging of all Belo Essentials products in question."
Earlier, the EcoWaste Coalition, a consumer and environmental health group, asked the company behind Belo Essentials to pull out from store shelves 6 products found in leading retail establishments in Metro Manila.
In April, the FDA issued an advisory reiterating the ban on 5 types of paraben, including isobutyl paraben, in accordance with an ASEAN Cosmetics Directive, which said that these substances "must not form part of the composition of cosmetic products."
The FDA had earlier ordered the cosmetics industry to comply by December 2015. The EcoWaste Coalition said parabens have been associated with breast cancer, tumors of the uterus, abnormal development of the testes, infertility, and other reproductive health problems.
EcoWaste Coalition’s Thony Dizon said they were told by FDA they gave a deadline of July 31, 2016 for compliance. The group submitted the results of their market surveillance done on August 3 and were told by FDA they would verify with their field officers.
ISCI general manager Robby Sicam said the company is willing to have its products undergo tests to show that they do not contain isobutyl paraben. – Rappler.com
Michael Bueza is a researcher and data curator under Rappler's Research Team. He works on data about elections, governance, and the budget. He also follows the Philippine pro wrestling scene and the WWE. Michael is also part of the Laffler Talk podcast trio.