Toxic Watchdog group BAN Toxics recommended to Facebook to suspend and/or remove sellers of liquid mercury and mercury-added products in Facebook marketplace to prevent exposure to health damaging mercury and promote a safe social media environment for the public.
In the recent online market monitoring conducted by BT Patrollers of BAN Toxics, the group has monitored 18 sellers of liquid mercury, and more than 100 sellers of mercury-added skin lightening products that are prohibited under the Chemical Control Order for Mercury and Mercury Compounds of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“We are dismayed to find liquid mercury and mercury-added skin lightening products are being offered for sale in Facebook Marketplace, despite the existing regulations in the country on mercury,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.
According to the Facebook Community Standards policy on restricted goods and services (Hazardous Goods and Materials), “To encourage safety and deter potentially harmful activities, we prohibit attempts by individuals, manufacturers, and retailers to purchase, sell, raffle, gift, transfer or trade certain goods and services on our platform.”
As also stated in Facebook Content Restrictions Based on Local Law, “When something on Facebook is reported to us as going against local law, but doesn’t go against our Community Standards, we may restrict the content’s availability in the country where it is alleged to be unlawful.”
“BAN Toxics encourages the public to be vigilant in monitoring and reporting banned and/or prohibited products being offered for sale using Facebook Marketplace. The continuous online selling of liquid mercury and mercury-added products has to end,” the group added.
Citing the WHO Mercury Fact Sheet, “Elemental and methylmercury are toxic to the central and peripheral nervous systems. The inhalation of mercury vapour can produce harmful effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, lungs and kidneys, and may be fatal.”
“Neurological and behavioral disorders may be observed after inhalation, ingestion or dermal exposure of different mercury compounds. Symptoms include tremors, insomnia, memory loss, neuromuscular effects, headaches and cognitive and motor dysfunction.”
In 2020, the Philippines ratified the Minamata Convention on Mercury, a binding global treaty that aims to reduce, and if possible, eliminate the anthropogenic sources of mercury emissions and releases.