Mercury-Containing Products Still Sold Online Despite DOH-FDA Ban

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The BANToxics group on Wednesday warned consumers against mercury-containing products that are still being sold online despite pressure for a global ban on the use of the dangerous toxic heavy metal.

A member of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, the Philippines recently deposited the instrument of ratification of the Minamata Convention, the first truly binding treaty to phase out mercury. In doing so, the Philippines became the 123rd country to join the treaty, which aims to protect human health and the environment from mercury and mercury compounds.

In a press release, BANToxics said that one of its BT patrollers, Mary Kate San Juan, recently conducted another online scout for the upcoming 7.7 mega online shopping platform sale and discovered the breach.

During the online investigation, 26 product listings of mercury-containing sphygmomanometers, six mercury thermometers and 16 mercury-containing dental amalgams from the Shopee online platform were discovered. Meanwhile, the online platform Lazada had 21 product listings of mercury-containing sphygmomanometers, 50 mercury thermometers and 18 mercury amalgam fillings.

Another revelation is the continued sale of mercury-laden skin lightening creams banned from both online shopping sites despite public health advisories issued by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), BANToxics says.

The group cited World Health Organization fact sheets on mercury and health, which listed mercury as one of the top 10 chemicals of public health concern. Exposure to mercury, even in small amounts, can cause serious health problems.

“The chemical also poses a threat to child development in utero and the early stages of life. Mercury can also have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, as well as the lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes,” BANToxics warned.

On June 10, 2022, the Department of Health-Food and Drug Administration (DOH-FDA) issued FDA Circular No. 2022-003 which prohibits all thermometers, sphygmomanometers, dental amalgam capsules, and liquid mercury with mercury added to dental restorative purposes. purposes.

The circular totally prohibits the manufacture, import, export, distribution, sale, offering for sale, donation, transfer and, where applicable, the use, promotion, advertising or sponsorship of thermometers, sphygmomanometers, dental amalgam capsules and liquid mercury intended for use for dental restorative purposes to protect human health from the harmful effects of the chemical.

Any establishment that violates the provisions of this issuance will be subject to the penalties and penalties prescribed by Republic Act 9711, also known as the Food FDA Act of 2009, and its Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR). , the circular said. .

“We are appalled by the proliferation of illegal mercury-containing products offered for sale on Shopee and Lazada shopping sites. It is time for these e-commerce sites to comply with the ban and regulations issued by the Food and Drug Administration,” said Thony Dizon, toxics campaign manager at BANToxics.

The group further urged the DOH-FDA to conduct post-market surveillance for the nation’s two largest online shopping platforms and to immediately draw their attention to the removal of all banned mercury-added products. and restricted.

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