Consumers warned of mercury-laden whitening products sold online in Indonesia
Two environmental and health groups have alerted the consumers on the mercury-laced skin whitening products that are being sold online in Indonesia.
The product was identified as “RDL Whitening Treatment Day and Night Cream,” and sold at www.bukalapak.com and www.tokopedia.com for the price of Rp12,500 to Rp55,000 per pack.
According to the joint statement released by the local group EcoWaste Coalition and Indonesian group Balifokus on Saturday, the mercury-laced skin whitening products were allegedly made in Davao City, and sold at the said online shopping sites in Indonesia.
The said product reportedly contained mercury above the one-part-per-million (ppm) limit under the ASEAN Cosmetic Directive.
“This is hazardous to health because it contains mercury as a skin lightening substance. Bukalapak and Tokopedia should take down all ads for this dangerous product at once to protect consumers from being duped and harmed. The National Agency of Drug and Food Control (BPOM) should ban this product from being sold in Indonesia,” Krishna Bayumutri Zaki, Toxics Program Manager of Balifokus, said.
“Considering the lack of enforcement in Indonesia of regulations banning the online sale of dangerous or illegal products, Bukalapak, Tokopedia, and other e-commerce platforms should conduct a strict filtering of such products being sold by third-party sellers to safeguard online shoppers,” he added.
Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner or EcoWaste Coalition, said on Saturday that it has already alerted the Food and Drug Administration regarding the matter.
“We have duly alerted the FDA about the online sale of this product in Indonesia that is purportedly made in Davao City. Our health and customs authorities should act decisively to stop the proliferation of this product that poses mercury exposure risk, especially to Indonesian women,” Dizon said.
In an examination conducted by the two environmental and health groups, mercury was detected on the two samples of “RDL Whitening Treatment Day and Night Cream” bought online.
Results revealed that the night cream of the said product contains 3,149 ppm and 3,615 ppm of mercury, way above the one-ppm threshold limit.
“The main adverse effect of the inorganic mercury contained in skin lightening soaps and creams is kidney damage,” the World Health Organization said.
“Mercury in skin lightening products may also cause skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections,” the agency added.
Despite the warning given, the groups noted that “RDL Cosmetic Laboratory, Inc.” should not be confused by the “RDL Pharmaceutical Laboratory, Inc.,” a legitimate company and seller of cosmetic products.
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