Skin-whitening products in the Philippines. It's an obsession with legions of Filipinos. So many people desire to have a white or light complexion and will spend countless pesos to reach their goal of what is perceived as beautiful on this archipelago of 7,107 islands in the South Pacific. I've dealt with this topic before, and on one of my previous posts concerning the TV show, "Nita Negrita," it is my most commented-upon article with 130 remarks. Now comes word that ELEVEN out of the 12 skin-whitening products being sold in the Philippines, with most of the products made in China, who frankly could care a rat's behind about what harmful ingredients they put in products, contain huge amounts of mercury that can harm the kidneys and other organs.(Photo by GuudGrf on Flickr.)
The Manila Standard Today recently reported that the EcoWaste Coalition states most of those products are made in China, and that those tested have been found to have mercury levels of 1,085 to 28,600 parts per million—when the limit is one part per million.
“We were shocked to find outrageously high levels of mercury in brazen breach of the country’s regulatory limit,” said Aileen Lucero, the group’s Safe Cosmetics Campaigner.
Those products also violate China’s limit of one part per million, Lucero says.
The group says the products they have found to contain high levels of mercury are the following: Miss Beauty Magic Cream, Jiaoli 7-Day Specific Eliminating Freckle AB Set Cream, JJJ Magic Spots Removing Cream, The Flower Woman 7-Day Whitening and Spot and Night Set Cream, Jiaoli Miraculous Cream, Sara Glutathione Sheep Placenta Whitening and Anti-Spot Cream, Szitang 7-Day Specific Whitening and Spot AB Set Cream, Beauty Girl Natural Olive and Sheep Essence 10-Day Double Whitening Cream, Miss Beauty Excellent Therapy Whitening Cream, Aichun Beauty Green Tea Whitening Speckle Removing Series Cream, and Aichun Beauty Whitening Freckle Day
Lucero says none of the 11 products listed mercury as an ingredient in their labels. Of those, five were recalled by the Food and Drugs Administration in 2010 for containing excessive mercury. The products were tested by visiting Chicago-based scientist Joe DiGangi, who used the X-Ray Fluorescence device, a chemical analyzer widely used by private companies and regulatory agencies in US.
The article reports that the samples found with high levels of mercury were all bought in Quiapo, Manila, and from two Chinese drug stores, a cosmetics shop, and two sidewalk vendors on July 23.
Here's a word of advice our family in the Philippines follows. We do not buy ANY healthcare or food product from China. We carefully check the labels of everything we purchase at our SM Supermarket in Iloilo City to make sure we know where the country of origin for the product is.
It continues to amaze and appall me to witness the continuing obsession with having a light complexion in the Philippines. Check out the movie and TV celebrities you find here, and you would be hard pressed to find any one with darker skin tones. As I've mentioned numerous times before, look at the employees working in the SM Department Stores and see what Brother Tom calls "the SM China Porcelain Dolls." Many employees there have told me that it is the policy of SM to not hire anyone with dark skin. Don't kid yourself, there's plenty of racism in the Philippines, and it's heartbreaking to see. If there are any laws against discrimination, they certainly aren't enforced. How sad. And tragic.