Tag Archives: Mercury

[Press Release] Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Liquid Mercury and Mercury-Added Products -EcoWaste Coalition

#HumanRights #Health [Press Release] Toxics Watchdog Group Exposes Online Sale of Liquid Mercury and Mercury-Added Products

It’s not only mercury-containing skin whitening cosmetics that are being sold online.

The EcoWaste Coalition made the shocking discovery after finding mercury thermometers, which are used to measure body temperature, and sphygmomanometers, which are used to measure blood pressure, as well as liquid mercury in flask containers, being sold illegally by third-party dealers in e-commerce marketplaces.

The group had previously aired its concern over the sale on popular online shopping platforms of skin whitening products banned by health authorities for containing mercury compounds, which are forbidden in cosmetic formulations.

The group’s latest toxic alert coincided with the 7th anniversary of the signing of the Minamata Convention on Mercury on October 10, 2013, by the government of the Philippines at the Conference of Plenipotentiaries held in Kumamoto, Japan. It also coincided with the 10.10 super sale today in some online shopping sites.

“We remind consumers to be cautious and alert to the dangers of buying and using mercury and mercury-added products that are illegally being offered for sale by online dealers,” said Thony Dizon, Chemical Safety Campaigner, EcoWaste Coalition.

“Mercury is highly toxic,” he emphasized, “so we advise consumers to seek out mercury-free products,” stressing that the enforcement of mercury-related policies and regulations, including the environmentally sound management of mercury wastes, should be actively supported.

The group had already notified lead regulatory agencies, particularly the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), about the alarming use of digital commerce to vend mercury and banned mercury-added products in direct contravention of the country’s mercury policies and regulations.

The group had reported to the FDA Center for Device Regulation, Radiation Health and Research (FDA-CDRRHR) the online sale of mercury thermometers and sphygmomanometers in non-compliance with DOH A.O. 2008-0021 titled “Gradual Phase-Out of Mercury in All Philippine Health Care Facilities and Institutions,” which phased out mercury-containing medical devices in September 2010.

“As civil society representative to the interagency committee that developed the National Action Plan for the Phase-Out of Mercury Added Products and the Management of the Associated Mercury-Containing Wastes, we are concerned that the unchecked online sale of mercury-containing medical devices goes against the government’s policy of preventing and controlling mercury emissions and releases pursuant to the Minamata Convention,” wrote the group.

To address the problem, the group requested the FDA to make a policy issuance reiterating the ban on mercury medical devices. In response, the FDA-CDRRHR confirmed they will “facilitate the development of the requested policy banning or prohibiting the manufacture, importation, distribution, and sale of thermometers and sphygmomanometers with mercury.”

In a separate letter to the EMB, which was co-signed by Ban Toxics and Health Care Without Harm, the EcoWaste Coalition requested the bureau to get to the bottom of the illegal online sale of liquid mercury, which may be diverted to uses prohibited by law such as mineral processing.

DENR A.O. 2019-20, or the Revised Chemical Control Order (CCO) for Mercury and Mercury Compounds, “prohibits the use of mercury and mercury compounds and mercury-added products for artisanal and small-scale gold mining and any other related mining activities” in line with Executive Order 79.

EMB had informed the EcoWaste Coalition that it had prepared a memorandum to the bureau’s legal division.

EcoWaste Coalition
78-A Masigla Extension, Barangay Central, 1100 Quezon City, Philippines
Phone: +632-82944807 E-Mail: info@ecowastecoalition.org
Website: http://www.ecowastecoalition.org, http://ecowastecoalition.blogspot.com

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[Press Release] Group Declares Rampant Mercury Use and Trade a Threat to People’s Right to Health and Life -BAN Toxics

Group Declares Rampant Mercury Use and Trade a Threat to People’s Right to Health and Life

Quezon City, Philippines — On Human Rights Day, environmental justice group BAN Toxics stresses the protection of people’s right to life as it reiterates their call to phase out mercury use and trade.

ban-toxics-logo

“As the world observes International Human Rights day today, we urge all nations to curb the threats against the people’s basic human right to health and life by stopping mercury pollution by rapidly ratifying the Minamata treaty and taking immediate measures to meet the requirement of the treaty,” says BAN Toxics Executive Director Atty. Richard Gutierrez.

Exactly two months ago, the Minamata treaty was signed and adopted by different nations including the Philippines. The treaty is an internationally binding legal instrument that aims to protect human health and the environment from the adverse impacts of mercury and mercury compounds.

The group raises alarm over the seemingly high exposure of the Filipino family to mercury. According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) national inventory of mercury the artisanal and small-scale gold mining (ASGM) sector emits an estimated 70 tons of mercury in the environment annually. It may be recalled that in 2006, a report by the United Nations stated that Filipino miners have mercury levels 50 times higher than WHO limits.

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that is persistent in the environment. From a number of historical pollution disasters it has been established that psychiatric symptoms, brain damage and kidney damage are some of the serious health consequences of exposure to high levels of mercury, but it is also well-documented that even tiny dosages affect the intellectual and physical performance of children when exposed in utero.

Women and children are most vulnerable to the ill-effects of mercury exposure. In 2013, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the WHO confirmed that mercury is a human carcinogen.

Aside from that, statistics from the United Nations COMTRADE, a global database on trade of commodities, for the period 2007-2011 shows that the Philippines imported more than 65,000 kilograms of inorganic and organic compounds of toxic metals,including dental amalgams which are composed of 50% mercury (BAN Toxics, 2012).

“Mercury is a poison that impacts not just the health of those that use, but also and unjustly a larger portion of the population,” add Gutierrez.

In this light, BAN Toxics urges the government to accelerate its effort towards the elimination of mercury through the strict and steadfast implementation of the Minamata treaty.

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BAN Toxics! is an independent non-government environmental organization focused on the advancement of environmental justice, children’s health, and toxics elimination. Working closely with government agencies, partner communities and other NGOs in both the local and international levels, BAN Toxics endeavors to reduce and eliminate the use of harmful toxins through education campaigns, training and awareness-raising, and policy-building and advocacy programs.

PRESS RELEASE
December 10, 2013
Angelica Carballo-Pago
Communications and Media Officer, BAN Toxics!
(02) 355-7640 | (+63) 915-9260-371
angelica@bantoxics.org | info@bantoxics.org

All submissions are republished and redistributed in the same way that it was originally published online and sent to us. We may edit submission in a way that does not alter or change the original material.

Human Rights Online Philippines does not hold copyright over these materials. Author/s and original source/s of information are retained including the URL contained within the tagline and byline of the articles, news information, photos etc.