Toxic lipsticks still sold in Manila

An environmental advocacy group has warned that lipsticks containing “atrocious” levels of toxic ingredients are still being sold in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, despite repeated alerts from the country’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 The EcoWaste Coalition said in a statement yesterday that it was able to buy 35 types of lipstick in Manila containing dangerously high levels of lead despite the FDA imposing a ban in January forbidding the sale of such products.

The FDA found unregistered brands of cosmetics containing levels of lead exceeding the 20 parts per million (ppm) limit stated in the Asean Cosmetics Directive. The FDA outlaws many unregistered brands as they do not list product ingredients, manufacturer, batch number, instructions for use, safety precautions and the country of manufacturer and importer.

The unregistered brands banned last month include Baolishi Lipstick #20, Miss Beauty New Formulized Moisture Lipstick, Monaliza Series Lipstick #5, and Miss Beauty BB Spray UV Resistance Whitening Spray.

Yet the EcoWaste Coalition reported that it was still able to buy the Baolishi and Monaliza lipsticks despite the FDA ban.

On top of this, the group said that 33 other brands bought also contained alarming amounts of lead ranging from 2,278 to 17,100 ppm – more than 850 times the limit set by the Asean Cosmetics Directive. These brands included Aili Kiss, Chanleevi, Daiyasi, Ily, Lidanxiu, Meiya, Miss Beauty, Miss Merry, Pure, Yan Di and one that is simply labelled, ‘Lipstick.’ These cost between P12.50 (US$0.28) and P50 (US$1.13), the group added.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste spokesperson, commented, “The booming sale of illegal cosmetics is very alarming with the culprits enjoying virtual impunity. This is frightening as some of these products are laden with dangerous chemicals posing serious health and environmental hazards.”

She emphasised the need for the strict regulation as toxic ingredients found in cosmetics products such as lipsticks can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream.

The FDA has warned that the chronic ingestion of lead in lipsticks may lead to problems in the nervous and gastrointestinal systems, heart, blood and kidney. Specifically, symptoms of lead poisoning include high blood pressure, joint pain, poor memory and concentration problems.