public health

Skin lighteners tainted with mercury sold in Tacloban markets – watchdog

Jazmin Bonifacio

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Skin lighteners tainted with mercury sold in Tacloban markets – watchdog

WITH MERCURY. Banned products that FDA warns the public about.

Food and Drug Administration

The Food and Drug Administration warns the public about three variants of Goree beauty products, as well as Renow-D, which all contain mercury

TACLOBAN, Philippines – A watchdog group warned the public about beauty products with mercury that are being sold in Tacloban City, Leyte.

A market surveillance conducted by BAN Toxics group revealed that three products manufactured from Pakistan and Thailand – Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene Avocado & Aloe Vera, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream Oil Free Total Fairness, and Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream – are being sold over the counter despite having mercury content. The products are being sold from P300 to P350 in wellness shops in Tacloban City.

Thony Dizon, toxics campaigner for BAN Toxics, said they found that Goree Beauty Cream with Lycopene Avocado & Aloevera had 21,700 parts per million (ppm) of mercury, Goree Day & Night Beauty Cream Oil Free Total Fairness System had 22,900 ppm, while Goree Gold 24K Beauty Cream had 21,800 ppm. 

He added that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had banned these three variants of Goree skin lightening products since 2017 due to health-damaging mercury concentrations.

“All these unnotified skin creams have existing public health warnings against their use and sale due to toxic mercury content,” Dizon said.

Two separate FDA advisories warned about the Goree products: FDA Advisory No. 2017-289 and FDA Advisory No. 2023-2392. But the advisories did not only include the products mentioned by BAN Toxics, but also cautioned about another product: Renow-D New Facial Cream Formula-One, manufactured in Thailand, which also contains mercury. Renow-D was not part of BAN Toxic’s market surveillance.

Citing an FDA advisory, Dizon said: “Mercury salts in cosmetic products inhibit the formation of skin melanin which will result in lighter skin tone. Adverse health effects brought by high toxic mercury in cosmetics products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring. And chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy.”

“The proliferation of such prohibited beauty cosmetics in cities and provinces nationwide must end and should be addressed immediately by regulatory agencies,” Dizon added. “We call the attention of the FDA in Region 8 to conduct post-marketing surveillance and enforcement action to stop the sale and use of these banned toxic products.”

Their group, according to Dizon, will continuously monitor and document the illegal trade of banned and prohibited beauty products sold in the local market and online to warn the public about the dangers of toxic mercury exposure. This is also to protect human health and the environment from mercury-added cosmetics. –

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