By Nelson Flores, Ll.B., MSCK
A PUBLIC health watchdog and a pro-consumer group urged health and police authorities to intensify drive against health hazard cosmetics.
This after EcoWaste Coalition and Laban Konsyumer Inc., a consumer protection group, noted the proliferation of dangerous cosmetics in the market. Just recently, EcoWaste Coalition found out that lipsticks contaminated with dangerous levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are being sold cheaply in Divisoria.
In a statement, the two civil society organizations asked the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to step up the campaign versus counterfeit and unregistered cosmetics that are often sold at rock-bottom prices in Divisoria, Manila and other bargain hubs, as well as in online shopping sites.
The groups expressed belief that with intensified operations of the authorities, the illegal trade of toxic beauty products would be disrupted and eventually halted.
“Combined FDA-PNP operations are essential to combat the threat from fake and toxic cosmetics in the marketplace. Their intensified market surveillance targeting unscrupulous manufacturers, importers, distributors, and retailers will protect consumers from being harmed by products containing banned or restricted substances, as well as bacterial contaminants, that can put their health at risk,” said Laban Konsyumer, Inc. President Atty. Vic Dimagiba.
For their part, EcoWaste Coalition Chemical Safety Campaigner Thony Dizon said “we request the FDA and the PNP to further mobilize their respective machinery to rid the market of personal care and cosmetic products that are not compliant with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, particularly those containing heavy metals above the trace amount limits set. The sale of poison lipsticks loaded with lead or skin whitening creams laced with mercury must stop to protect consumer health and the environment.”
The FDA, in 2016, deputized the PNP through a Memorandum of Agreement to help it in ensuring the quality, safety and efficacy of food, health products, cosmetics, medicines and medical devices being offered for sale in the market.
The PNP has organized the Task Force Destroy Products Unfit for the Consumption of Humans, or Task Force D-PUNCH, to assist the FDA in the performance of its function.
“We hope that the health and customs authorities will also come up with a collaborative agreement to enhance law enforcement action that will stop the entry of contraband cosmetics into our ports,” the two groups said.