This cosmetic from Pakistan screened positive for high levels of mercury, way above the 1 part per million (ppm) limit.

EcoWaste Coalition Detects Mercury on Unauthorized Beauty Cream that Claims to Lighten the Skin (Banned in Bangladesh, Sweden and USA, but sold online in PH)

Ban the advertising, display and marketing of mercury-added cosmetics

15 February 2024, Quezon City. The EcoWaste Coalition has detected high concentrations of mercury in a Pakistan-made cosmetic that is sold online without due authorization from the health authorities.

Using an X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) analyzer, the toxics watchdog group detected 20,240 parts per million (ppm) of mercury in the Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream that it bought from an online seller for P180. The ASEAN Cosmetic Directive prohibits mercury as an ingredient in cosmetic product formulations and sets 1 ppm as maximum allowable limit.

“Our latest investigation shows that this cosmetic is being offered for sale to Filipino consumers despite being banned in other countries for containing mercury above the 1 ppm limit,” said Aileen Lucero, National Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition. “We request our cosmetic regulators to take immediate action to halt the unlawful trade of this dangerous product.”

Governmental authorities in Bangladesh, Sweden and the USA have banned this product after testing positive for dangerous levels of mercury, the EcoWaste Coalition said. For example, the product tested in the USA had 12,400 ppm of mercury.

As indicated on its label, the “export quality” product was manufactured in Pakistan in October 2023 in clear defiance of the 2020 global phase-out deadline for the manufacture, import or export of mercury-added cosmetics like skin lightening creams and soaps under the Minamata Convention on Mercury.

The product is described on the packaging insert as a “well-balanced de-pigmentation formula which helps lighten the skin and improves its condition,” as well as “eliminates dead cells, melanin deposits and improves your complexion.”

The packaging insert also claims that Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream “removes dark circles, acne, wrinkles, freckles and other signs of ageing.” Furthermore, “it moisturizes skin, makes skin soft and young,” “protects skin from UV rays” and makes you “look pretty and gorgeous than ever.”

The label provides a long list of over 25 product ingredients, but excluding mercury or its compounds.

According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), “exposure to mercury can have serious health consequences,”

“The danger isn’t just to people who use mercury-containing products but also to their families. When you use these products your family might breathe mercury vapors or might become exposed by using things like washcloths or towels contaminated with mercury,” it said.

“Some people – including pregnant women, nursing babies and young children – are especially vulnerable to mercury toxicity. Babies may be particularly sensitive to the harm mercury can cause to their developing brains and nervous systems. Newborns who nurse are vulnerable because mercury is passed into breast milk,” the FDA pointed out.

The EcoWaste Coalition has already notified the Philippine FDA about its latest toxic discovery.

To protect human health against mercury exposure, the EcoWaste Coalition urged the agency to issue the necessary public health warning advising consumers not to purchase and use Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream.

The group also appealed to online shopping platforms to take down product listings for unauthorized cosmetics, especially those that have been identified as containing mercury and other hazardous substances.

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