Issue of September 15, 2019
     
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Benguet
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Action on harmful cosmetics lauded
by Hanna C. Lacsamana

The EcoWaste Coalition gave the city council of Baguio thumbs-up for its move that may lead to the passage of an ordinance banning mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics.

In a statement furnished the Courier, the management Quezon City-based watchdog cited the successful first public hearing on Sept. 4 for the proposed measure filed by Vice Mayor Faustino Olowan and certified as an urgent matter by Mayor Benjamin Magalong last July 18.

The public hearing facilitated by the council of committee on market, trade, commerce, and agriculture chair Councilor Philian Allan gathered representatives from the regional offices of the departments of  Health, Environment and Natural Resources, and Trade and Industry, private sector, establishments, and shopping malls.

Allan has informed EcoWaste that the participants have agreed there is a need to pass the ordinance and to encourage  more advocates.

In an email, the councilor thanked the group for its work and commitment that brought the matter to the attention of the city authorities.

In September last year, EcoWaste Coalition conducted inspections at the city and found that some cosmetics or beauty products containing poisonous chemicals such as lead and mercury were sold in some stores.

Then mayor Mauricio Domogan immediately ordered concerned departments and line agencies to verify the report so that the public would be informed of the dangers to health of such products.

EcoWaste Coalition chemical safety campaigner Thony Dizon said “the anticipated approval and enforcement of the ordinance will serve as Baguio City’s contribution to the looming global phase-out by 2020 of skin whitening cosmetics with mercury content above one part per million (ppm).

Dizon said the Minamata Convention of Mercury, which the Philippine government signed on Oct. 10, 2013, listed cosmetics such as skin lightening soaps and creams containing mercury above one ppm among the mercury-added products to be phased out by 2020.

The proposed ordinance prohibits and penalizes the “manufacture, importation, marketing and promotion, distribution, and sale of cosmetics with mercury content in excess of one ppm.”

It will also prohibit the “sale, wholesale or retail, (of cosmetics) that have not been authorized by the Food and Drug Administration or have not complied with labeling requirements as required by the FDA.”

The ordinance will further prohibit the “open dumping or open burning or disposal of banned/recalled and/or confiscated mercury-containing cosmetics along with regular city solid waste.”


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