By Analou De Vera
An environmental and health group has warned the public anew against the presence of cosmetic products containing toxic substances in the market, particularly in Baguio City.
“We lament the unabated sale of cosmetics contaminated with chemical poisons like mercury and lead that could spell real trouble for human health as well as the environment,” said Thony Dizon, chemical safety campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.
The group said that it discovered high concentrations of mercury in 14 skin whitening creams and lead in eight lipsticks that were purchased from some retailers in Baguio City.
“The items were obtained from beauty and herbal product stores operating inside the Baguio Center Mall and the Maharlika Livelihood Complex, and from general merchandise shops in Magsaysay Ave., Rajah Soliman St. and Lower Session Road,” the group said.
Citing the World Health Organization, the group said that exposure to mercury may cause kidney damage, skin rashes, skin discoloration, scarring, and reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.
“Mercury in skin whitening products is hazardous to health and may affect not only the person using it, but also other members of the household, including babies and children, who may be exposed through direct contact with contaminated objects or through the inhalation of mercury vapors,” said Dizon.
Exposure to lead, meanwhile, has also been linked to reproductive health issues such as hormonal changes, menstrual irregularities, delays in the onset of puberty, reduced fertility in both men and women, and miscarriage, the group said.