EcoWaste Coalition calls out online sellers of mercury-laced skin whiteners

Maris Federez   •   April 12, 2019   •   2857

EcoWaste Coalition has lashed out on third party sellers of mercury-laced skin lightening cosmetics in popular e-commerce sites.

The environmental watchdog’s chemical safety campaigner, Thony Dizon, said these popular e-commerce platforms must not allow their sites to be used in the unethical and unlawful trade of hazardous cosmetics.

“We find the unabated sale of dangerous skin whitening products in online shopping sites deeply disturbing and unacceptable,” said Dizon, adding that exposing customers to mercury will put their health and the environment at risk.

Dizon appealed to the said e-commerce platforms to monitor the products being sold by third party merchants as the government formulate policies that will regulate the online selling business.

The coalition, specifically called on the top three e-commerce sites, Lazada, Shopee, and eBay to support the Minamata Convention on mercury by taking down third-party ads of mercury-laden cosmetics.

The Minamata Convention on Mercury is a global treaty to protect human health and the environment from the adverse effects of emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compounds as a result of human activities or productions. 

The treaty aims at globally phasing out, among others, skin whitening cosmetics such as creams, lotions, and soaps with mercury above one part per million (ppm) by 2020. 

EcoWaste studies showed that that Ailke Perfect Salvation, Angel Placenta, Collagen Plus Vit E, Erna, Goree, and Jiaoli are among those already banned by the FDA for containing mercury above the trace amount limit of 1 ppm.

In accordance with the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive, mercury is not allowed as ingredient in cosmetic product formulations.

Mercury in skin-whitening products inhibits the production of melanin pigment leading to a “fairer” skin tone.

However, EcoWaste reiterated that mercury can cause damage to the nervous, immune, and renal systems and also causes skin discoloration, rashes, and scarring, as well as reduce dermal resistance to bacterial and fungal infections. – Maris Federez

EcoWaste: Some ukay-ukay toys pose choking and chemical hazards

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 12, 2019

Environment group, EcoWaste Coalition warns the public against the choking and chemical hazard posed by some toys sold in thrift stores or ukay-ukay.

Based on the examination of the group, some ukay-ukay products are laden with chemicals that are dangerous to human health, especially to a child.

“For example, the yellow, orange, green and bars of a used toy xylophone had lead content exceeding the maximum 90 ppm limit for lead in paint,” according to Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner of EcoWaste Coalition.

“Further examination of the samples revealed that as many as 78 items contain small parts that may be separated from the toy. A child may put the detached toy component in the mouth and choke, so a cautionary warning is definitely necessary,” he adds.

Aside from lead, the group also found other harmful chemicals including polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) which can interfere with the endocrine or hormone system.

Dizon is also calling the attention of authorities to conduct investigation on the sale of used toys and other children’s products in ukay-ukay stores.

“Yes, recycling is fun, but we do not want recycled toys from abroad to contaminate our children’s bodies and harm their well-being and future,” he concluded.—AAC

Online selling of prescription drugs not allowed by law – DOH

Marje Pelayo   •   June 10, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Social media have become a popular platform for online selling of almost everything – from shoes, clothes, gadgets, machines, food, even health supplements and prescription medicines.

A concerned netizen posted on social media how easy it was for her to order prescription medicines from an online store and pay the amount at any payment center.

The UNTV News Team checked on the online pharmacy which the netizen mentioned and what other prescription medicines were available for purchase.

The online pharmacy was still open but the prices of medicines were no longer posted.

According to the Department of Health (DOH), selling prescription drugs online is not allowed and may incur penalties under the law.

“Hindi pwede iyang antibiotics sa Lazada (Antibiotics are not allowed on Lazada). That is a violation of our Generics law and Cheaper Medicines Act,” noted Health Secretary Francisco Duque III.

“Prescription is a must. It is a requirement. You cannot have medicines, antibiotics delivered through Lazada as if it were an ordinary item.  We will file a case against Lazada if it is doing that,” Duque added.

The Department Secretary said if antibiotics would be made easily available on online shops, cases of anti-microbial resistance might soon get out of hand.

In a World Health Organization (WHO) report, seven thousand individuals die every year across the globe due to anti-microbial resistance or AMR.

AMR happens when a certain drug is no longer effective to fight or destroy microbes or parasite inside the human body due to over dosage or unprescribed intake of antibiotics.

For this reason, the DOH reminds the public to religiously follow the doctor’s prescription of a certain anti-biotics to benefit from it.

In line with this issue, the DOH will conduct its own investigation on reports about prescription drugs being sold online.

Int’l groups laud reshipment of Canada trash: ‘A victory for the environment’

Marje Pelayo   •   May 31, 2019

The MV Bavaria leaving the Philippines to haul 69 container vans of mixed waste back to Canada (May 31, 2019)

MANILA, Philippines — Environmental groups lauded the historic return of Canada’s trash after six long years of abandonment in the Philippines.

EcoWaste Coalition, International Persistent Organic Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and RightOnCanada in a joint statement described the effort as “a victory for the rule of law, morality and the environment.”

“We feel jubilant that 69 containers of Canadian rubbish are now homeward bound after being stranded here for so long,” Ecowaste National Coordinator Aileen Lucero said.

“The Philippines is not the world’s dumpsite. Never again shall we allow other countries to trash our dignity, our people’s health, and the environment,” she added.

Kathleen Ruff of RightOnCanada, meanwhile, commended Canada for finally realizing its responsibility under the Basel Convention.

“The Canadian government is now finally going to comply with the Basel Convention and take responsibility for its own wastes. This is what environmental responsibility means.”

Meanwhile, Joe DiGangi of IPEN said Canada should have not waited for six years before it finally decided to take back its trash.

“Canada should have complied with the Basel Convention and repatriated its illegal garbage exports years ago,” DiGangi said.

“It should not take a presidential threat to get Canada or any other country to comply with the Basel Convention. Going forward, both Canada and the Philippines need to learn from this frustrating experience, so that it is never repeated,” he added in the statement.

The groups noted that to prevent the recurrence of garbage dumping, there should be a new set of rules that nations should uphold thus they suggest the ratification of the Basel Ban Amendment “which prohibits the export of hazardous wastes and other wastes from developed to developing countries for any reason, including recycling.”

“This ordeal has taught us of the urgency of correcting outmoded regulations allowing waste imports into the country under the guise of recycling,” Lucero concluded.  

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