Assorted cosmetics without the required product notifications as collected by the EcoWaste Coalition from various retailers in July 2016.
“Better safe than sorry.”
The EcoWaste Coalition, a non-profit watch group for public health and the environment, urged consumers to take the government’s public health warnings very seriously to avoid potential adverse health effects from the use of unnotified cosmetic products.
The group appealed for consumer vigilance against beauty products lacking the required cosmetic product notifications from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after the agency issued successive advisories warning the public against a total of 109 unnotified cosmetic products.
Yesterday, the FDA uploaded several advisories directing consumers not to buy and use such unnotified cosmetic products as “the agency cannot guarantee their quality and safety.”
Last year, the agency released similar public health warnings against over 150 unnotified cosmetic products.
Among these unnotified cosmetics are imported and locally-produced baby oil and lotion; bath soap; hand and body lotion; lip balm and lipstick; hair color, shampoo and conditioner; makeup; nail glue; skin whitening cream, lotion and soap; sunblock; and talcum powder products.
“We appeal to all consumers, especially the budget but not safety conscious ones, to take the FDA’s health advisories to heart as the use of unnotified cosmetics may harm your health. It’s better to be safe than sorry,” said Thony Dizon, Coordinator, EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect.
“The side effects from the use of such cosmetics may not be immediately known or visible to the naked eyes, so it’s better to opt for products that passed quality and safety assurance,” he emphasized.
“Our own experience in screening chemicals in products during the last five years shows high levels of toxic metal contamination in unnotified cosmetics such as mercury in skin whitening creams and arsenic, cadmium and lead in lipsticks,” he pointed out.
According to the FDA advisories, unnotified cosmetics “have not been issued the proper authorization in the form of acknowledged cosmetic notifications.”
“Because unnotified cosmetic products have not gone through the verification process of the FDA, the agency cannot guarantee their quality and safety,” it said.
“Potential hazards may come from ingredients that are not allowed to be part of a cosmetic product or from the contamination of heavy metals such as mercury especially in whitening cosmetic products,” the FDA warned.
“The use of substandard and possibly adulterated cosmetic products may result to adverse reactions including but not limited to skin irritation, itchiness, anaphylactic shock and organ failure,” it further warned.
To avoid potential health damage from the use of such cosmetics, the EcoWaste Coalition advised consumers to shun products that lack complete and understandable labeling information; are marketed by unauthorized sellers and sold too cheaply to be true; and do not appear in the FDA’s database of cosmetics with valid product notifications.
The group also told consumers to watch out for products that are illegally using the FDA logo to deceive consumers that such products are approved, endorsed or authorized by the agency.
The group cited FDA Memorandum Circular 2013-030, which prohibits the “use of the FDA logo, the words “Food and Drug Administration” or “Philippine FDA,” the initials “FDA,” or any imitation of such words, initials or logo in print and other forms of broadcast media… in connection with any health product or merchandise… that convey that such use is approval, endorsement or authorization by the FDA.”
The group reiterated that Republic Act No. 9711, or the Food and Drug Administration Act of 2009, prohibits the manufacture, importation, exportation, sale, offering for sale, distribution, transfer, non-consumer use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of health products without the proper authorization from the FDA.
“We encourage consumers of cosmetics and personal care products to make it a habit to visit the FDA website at www.fda.gov.ph for the latest public health warnings and other important announcements from the agency,” Dizon stated.
Links to recent FDA advisories against unnotified cosmetics: