The government body warned that many products on sale from markets and roadside vendors in the city had not passed through government evaluations and were potentially dangerous to use.
They also warned that some of the products may have spread beyond the metropolis: for example, lipsticks previously found in the city have been found being traded in upland areas of Cordillera.
The FDA is planning to seize selected items from these illegitimate cosmetics and test them in order to determine their chemical makeup.
Saturnina Pandosen, regulation officer for the FDA in Cordillera, commented: “We are becoming a dumping ground because we are the business center in the Cordillera. These products did not undergo tests and evaluation by the FDA.”
Pandosen says that the products are transported to Baguio outlets and sidewalk vendors from a wholesale market in Baclaran in Paranaque City and a mall in Divisoria using rented vans.
The cosmetics are then “openly sold on the market” in Baguio City, with some beginning to proliferate to other areas of the region- for example lipsticks, which are popular because of their cheap price.
Reportedly, one woman from Buguias, a town in the Benguet province, began suffering from a burning sensation on her face after using an unregistered product.
The FDA have warned residents that an ‘FDA USA Approved’ mark on their labels are not necessarily safe to use, stating that consumers should restrict their purchases to those with the FDA Philippines symbol.
Pretty, deadly cosmetics
Pandosen points out that many of the illegally imported products contain mercury, lead or disease causing agents which may make them hazardous to health. They are also likely to include poisonous chemicals such as cadium and arsenic.
According to a fact sheet from the agency, many of the products are smuggled in from China and Hong Kong.
In an advisory on their website, the FDA warn consumers not to buy products which are not explicitly licensed, stating that many have been found to contain mercury levels higher than the 1ppm permitted by Philippine law.