Warning up vs whitening creams
MANILA, Philippines—The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has alerted the public against skin whitening cosmetic products found to contain dangerous levels of mercury.
The FDA said it had tested at least 15 products, all of which have no FDA notification, and found 11 of these had mercury levels exceeding the allowable limit of one part per million.
The products were submitted to the FDA by a nongovernment organization for analysis.
The mercury-laden cosmetic products were: Sanli Eliminating Freckle Cream Plus Complex Vitamin C & E; Erna Whitening Cream; Top Shirley Nourishing Cream; Jiao Li Huichunsu Specific Eliminating Freckle Cream; Jiao Li Speckle-Dispelling & Whitening Cream; LMSER Cream; Gemli Beauty Series Freckles Cream Plus Placenta Extract; Zhjren 7 Day Beauty Elegant Moisturizing & Whitening Day Cream & Night Cream; Zhjren Whitening Rudy Combination Suit; White Magnolia Intensive Repair Essence & Powerful Spot Remover; and Angela Placenta Whitening Cream (Tender Skin & Whitening).
In addition, the FDA warned against the sale of five other products for failure to obtain prior market authorization or notification from the agency: Excellent Royalsuffi Fade Out Day Cream; Yu Yan Excellent Yest Intensive Night Cream; Baschi Day and Night Cream; Baschi Whitening Cream; and Feique Herbal Extract Whitening Freckle-Removing Series.
The findings of mercury content are not surprising for cosmetic products without FDA market authorization, the FDA said.
“Unknown to consumers, there are unscrupulous manufacturers and traders that add mercury salts to cosmetic products to inhibit the formation of skin melanin which will result in lighter skin tones,” it said.
According to the FDA, adverse health effects of highly toxic mercury in cosmetic products include kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration and scarring.
“Chronic use reduces the skin’s normal resistance against bacterial and fungal infections. Other effects include anxiety, depression or psychosis and peripheral neuropathy,” the FDA said in its advisory.
It said the transfer of mercury to fetuses of pregnant women may manifest as neurodevelopment deficits later in life.
The agency advised consumers to buy cosmetic products that have FDA notification and to buy only from legitimate outlets.
It also appealed to the mall owners’ sense of corporate social responsibility, asking that they require their tenants to sell cosmetic products that are sourced from distributors and importers that have the FDA license to operate and product Certificates of Notification.
FDA field personnel have been ordered to seize all unregistered cosmetic products and those that contain dangerous levels of mercury.