Watchdog seeks crackdown on dangerous cosmetics, slimming products in Makati

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A watchdog group espousing public health and the environment today urged Makati Acting Mayor Romulo Peña to come down hard on vendors of banned cosmetics and weight-loss products in Guadalupe in the city of Makati.

The EcoWaste Coalition brought the illegal trade to Peña’s attention through a letter faxed and e-mailed to his office and to the Makati Health Department along with the photo evidence.

Based on the market surveillance conducted by the group Monday, seven beauty and herbal vendors renting store space at the Guadalupe Commercial Complex and U-Mec Supermarket were found to be selling skin whitening creams and slimming goods banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Among the FDA-prohibited cosmetics that can be purchased in Guadalupe are Erna, Jiaoli and S’zitang skin whitening creams that had been banned due to their high mercury content.

Mercury-laced cosmetics can expose users and even non-users to this toxic metal that can cause damage to the skin, kidneys and the nervous systems and hinder healthy brain development of unborn and very young children.

Among the anti-obesity or weight-loss products being sold in the area are Brazilian Slimming Coffee, Leisure 18 Slimming Coffee and Leisure Burn Body Fat Orange Juice, which the FDA had banned for containing unauthorized ingredients such as amphetamine, sibutramine and steroids.

The intake of sibutramine has been associated with increased risk of serious heart events such as heart attack and stroke.

Vendors were also found selling other unregistered slimming products that are banned in Canada, Hong Kong and Singapore such as Curvy Pearl Beauty Slimming Orange Juice, Brazilian 7 Days Slimming Coffee, Body Beauty 5 Days Slimming Coffee, Leisure 18 Slimming Mango Juice, and Leisure 18 Slimming Orange Juice.

Makati and other LGUs, the EcoWaste Coalition stressed, have a strategic role in ensuring that health directives from the FDA and other national government agencies are enforced to promote and protect the public health and safety.

“With the collaboration of the LGUs, it’s possible to cut back on this unlawful trade and consumption of contraband goods that can cause adverse effects to human health and the environment,” the group said. (PNA)

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