Bleach cream with Mercury still in online market despite health and E-commerce regulations

THE toxic watchdog group BAN Toxics send the warning against online selling of Skin Lightening Products such as Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream made from U.S.A. that is contaminated with mercury, a toxic poison with serious health consequences.

During the online market surveillance, the group’s BT Patrollers has monitored the continuous selling of Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream despite numerous public health warnings issued by the Food and Drug Administration against mercury-added skin lightening products and the e-commerce regulation in the country.

According to the product ads, Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream 28g (Made in USA) is an all day and night usage cream for anti-ageing, anti-tan, blemish removal, cleans skin pores, daily care for men and women with Expiry Date: July 31, 2025.

Using a SCIAPS X Series HH XRF Analyzer, the group procured and screened the product sample and tested positive for toxic mercury (Hg) with concentration of up to 805 parts per million (ppm), way beyond the 1 ppm limit set by the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.

BAN Toxics wrote to the Food and Drug Administration to verify the bleaching cream and found that “as per FDA Center for Cosmetics and Household/Urban Hazardous Substances Regulation and Research (CCHUHSRR) database, there is no valid Certificate of Product Notification nor pending application.”

“The Philippine government should ensure that continuous selling of mercury containing skin lightening products should be prohibited and online shopping platforms should bear the legal responsibility for ensuring that products sold on their platforms fully comply with health and safety standards in the country,” said Thony Dizon, Toxics Campaigner, BAN Toxics.

Republic Act 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, prohibits the manufacture, importation, distribution and sale, among other things, of health products, including cosmetics, without the proper authorization from the agency.

Under the Joint Administrative Order (JAO 22-01) Section 13, e-commerce platforms, e-marketplaces, and the like, shall verify if the goods sold by online sellers or merchants, and e-retailers, in their respective platforms are regulated, prohibited, original, genuine, licensed, or expired.

According to the JAO, “in case of a prima facie violation of any pertinent laws or regulations committed in an online post by the online seller or merchant, e-retailer, e-commerce platform, e-marketplace and a like, the concerned authorized agency shall issue a notice giving the violator a maximum period of three (3) calendar days from the receipt of, within which to take down such post, without prejudice to the filling of appropriate administrative actions against all violators.”

“BAN Toxics reminded online businesses to take down prohibited and/or banned skin lightening products that have been found to contain toxic mercury. It is our responsibility to ensure the protection of the public against hazards to health and safety.”

“To prevent exposure to toxic mercury, the group calls the attention of online merchants to refrain from selling skin lightening products that are already banned in the country,” the group added.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration cautions the public to avoid skin creams, beauty and antiseptic soaps, and lotions that contain mercury.

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.

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