Amazon, eBay, Others Urged to Stop Toxic Trade in Illegal Skin Lighteners; NGOs demand removal, vigilance to keep high mercury products off internet

PRESS RELASE

Amazon, eBay, Others Urged to Stop Toxic Trade in Illegal Skin Lighteners; NGOs demand removal, vigilance to keep high mercury products off internet

16 December 2019

Following release of test results last month finding high mercury skin lightening creams sold online worldwide, the Zero Mercury Working Group (“ZMWG”) is calling on E-commerce giants around the world to remove these illegal products—and keep them off their websites. 

Products were purchased by ZMWG partners from:  Amazon; Ebay; BidorBuy; Lazada; Jumia; Daraz; and Flipkart. ZMWG noted that while some of these platforms have pledged to remove illegal products, others have not.  Also, some who have pledged to removed them have not.

“Lazada, eBay and Daraz pledged to removed illegal high mercury products from their websites, but they are still there,” said Michael Bender, ZMWG co-coordinator. “Also, although Amazon removed illegal products from US and EU platforms, they remain offered by Amazon India.”

Mercury is used in skin lighteners because it inhibits melanin and results in a lighter skin tone.

Because of toxic exposure risks, cosmetics with mercury levels over 1 part per million (ppm) are banned by many national governments.  This is the same limit set by the global mercury treaty, the Minamata Convention.

Of over 150 products tested from 12 countries across African, Asia, Europe and the U.S., 60% exceeded the mercury limit. Levels ranged from 1.9 to 131,000 ppm.

“Not only are these E-commerce profiteers breaking the law, they are placing consumers at unnecessary risk from this dangerous neurotoxin,” said Elena, EEB and ZMWG coordinator.  “We urge governments to take enforcement action against these illegal toxic traders.”

The Group purchased ten illegal products from BidorBuy in South Africa and 7 came from Lazada, the largest e-commerce platform in South East Asia. Six non-compliant products were purchased off from the Daraz website in South Asia (with the Chinese global e-commerce platform Alibaba having a controlling stake in Lazada and Daraz.) 

In addition, two high mercury products were purchased from Jumia, an e-commerce platform active in Africa and one non-compliant product came from the Indian-owned e-commerce platform Flipkart. Finally, 17 high mercury products were purchased from eBay and 19 from Amazon. 

After test results were presented, Amazon removed more than a dozen products from its U.S. website in late November.  Subsequently, they removed additional products from their UK platform.  However, high mercury products remain for sale on the Amazon India platform.

 

 

 

Contact:

Elena Lymberidi-Settimo, elena.lymberidi@eeb.org, EEB/ZMWG

Anton Lazarus, anton.lazarus@eeb.org, EEB communications manager

Michael Bender, mercurypolicy@aol.com, MPP/ZMWG

Notes:

[1] "Ebay told Chemical Watch that it has removed from sale the non-compliant products identified in the report, as did Lazada and Daraz. https://chemicalwatch.com/85927/major-retailers-remove-mercury-containing-skin-lighteners-from-sale#overlay-strip

[1]An eBay spokesperson said it also removed the items in question and was also “taking enforcement action against the sellers” because such products were banned from eBay’s platform.

https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2019/11/29/Illegal-mercury-skin-lightening-cosmetics-removed-by-Amazon-and-eBay-following-NGO-investigation

[1] EBay, in an emailed statement, said it is reviewing the report to make sure it is removing any contaminated products.

“Consumers can shop EBay’s 1-plus-billion items with confidence, knowing we have key partnerships and processes in place with product manufacturers and regulators to ensure a safe shopping experience,” EBay said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/amazon-and-ebay-accused-of-selling-cosmetics-with-mercury

 

[1] At eBay, ZMWG tested 32 skin lighteners, finding that the company has sold at least 10 noncompliant products in Belgium and seven in the U.S. EBay said it was reviewing its site for the products identified by ZMWG.

“We have key partnerships and processes in place with product manufacturers and regulators to ensure a safe shopping experience,” said eBay spokeswoman Ashley Settle in an emailed statement.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-ebay-address-mercury-laced-skin-creams-11574878756

Further Information:

https://chemicalwatch.com/85927/major-retailers-remove-mercury-containing-skin-lighteners-from-sale#overlay-strip

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amazon-ebay-address-mercury-laced-skin-creams-11574878756

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-27/amazon-and-ebay-accused-of-selling-cosmetics-with-mercury

https://www.mprnews.org/story/2019/11/22/amazon-pulls-skinlightening-creams-from-site-after-demands-from-minnesota-activists

https://www.cosmeticsdesign-europe.com/Article/2019/11/29/Illegal-mercury-skin-lightening-cosmetics-removed-by-Amazon-and-eBay-following-NGO-investigation

https://uk.news.yahoo.com/amazon-uk-removes-skin-lightening-131452879.html

https://eeb.org/amazon-ebay-among-websites-found-selling-illegal-mercury-laced-skin-lighteners/

Annex: Samples exceeding 1 ppm mercury purchased from e-platforms

Table G1: Product name, country of purchase, indicated country of origin, physical shop or e-commerce platform, and mercury content (ppm) for samples exceeding 1 ppm mercury.

Product name

Country of purchase

Country of origin*

 

Shop/e commerce platform

Mercury content (ppm)

Available ?  Date of checking platform

Kim Whitening Ginseng and Pearl Cream

Bangladesh

Thailand

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

17,416.67

10/12 available

Sandal Whitening Beauty Cream

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

83,633.33

10/12 available

Parley Herbal Whitening Cream

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

116,600.00

10/12 available

Jiaoli Cream set, cream A

Bangladesh

China

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

9344.33

10/12 available

Jiaoli Cream set, cream B

Bangladesh

China

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

12.513.33

10/12 available

Faiza Beauty Cream

Bangladesh

Pakistan

Daraz (e-commerce platform)

21,406.67

10/12 available

Chandni Whitening Cream

EU

Pakistan

Amazon, UK (e-commerce platform)

11,928.00

11/12 Removed

 

Golden Pearl Whitening Beauty Cream

EU

Pakistan

Amazon, UK (e-commerce platform)

10,515.00

11/12 Removed

 

Golden Pearl Whitening Beauty Cream

EU

Pakistan

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

10,338.00

11/12 available

Golden Pearl Whitening Beauty Cream

EU

Pakistan

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

5266.00

11/12 available

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

EU

Pakistan

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

12,656.00

11/12 available

JiaoBi Whitening set, make up base

EU

China

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce

20,813.00

11/12 available

JiaoBi Whitening set, Night cream

EU

China

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce

15,404.00

11/12 available

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream A

EU

China

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

584.70

11/12 removed

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream B

EU

China

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

1542.90

11/12 removed

Pop Popular Facial Cream Whitening Acne Pimple

EU

Thailand

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

2.20

11/12 available

Pop Popular Facial Cream Whitening Acne Pimple

EU

Thailand

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

1.91

11/12 available

White Rose Whitening Cream (super Gold Caviar

EU

Thailand

eBay, Belgium (e-commerce platform)

6188.00

11/12 available

Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream

India

Pakistan

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

54,653.33

08/12/19 available

Due Whitening Beauty Cream

India

Pakistan

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

76,333.33

08/12/19 available

Face Fresh Gold, Whitening Cream Age Spots/Freckle and Scars

India

Pakistan

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

97,906.67

08/12/19 available

Goree Day and Night Whitening Beauty Cream

India

Pakistan

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

46.95

09/12/19 available

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream A

India

China

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

836.43

09/12/19 available

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream B

India

China

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

10,129.33

09/12/19 available

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

India

Thailand

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

100,500.00

09/12/19 available

Parley Herbal Whitening Cream

India

Pakistan

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

113,833.33

09/12/19 available

POP Popular Facial Cream Whitening Acne Pimple

India

Thailand

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

59.20

09/12/19 available

Stillman’s Skin Bleach Cream

India

Pakistan

Flipkart (e-commerce platform)

62.53

09/12/19 available

White Rose Whitening Cream

India

Thailand

Amazon, India (e-commerce platform)

48 840

09/12/19 available

Faiza Beauty Cream

Kenya

Pakistan

Jumia, Kenya (e- commerce platform)

11,313.18

11/12 still available for sale in Kenya on Jumia.co.ke.

Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream

Nigeria

Pakistan

Jumia, Nigeria (e- commerce platform)

20,598.76

10/12 still available

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

Nigeria

Thailand

Jiji through Humduke Nig. Ltd.

(e- commerce platform)

2584.46

10/12 removed

Jiaoli Speckle Dispelling & Whitening Cream

Nigeria

China

Jumia, Nigeria (e- commerce platform)

1154.07

 

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

Philippines

Pakistan

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

130,666.67

 

Available

12/10/19

Goree Day and Night Whitening Cream

Philippines

Pakistan

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

131,566.67

Available

12/10/19

Aneeza Gold Beauty Cream

Philippines

Pakistan

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

40,46.67

Available

12/10/19

Golden Pearl Whitening Beauty Cream

Philippines

Pakistan

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

73,953.33

Available

12/10/19

RDL Cream

Philippines

Philippines

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

47.98

Available

12/10/19

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream A

Philippines

China

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

9083.33

Removed

12/10/19

Jiaoli Miraculous Cream set, cream B

Philippines

China

Lazada, Philippines (e- commerce platform)

18,876.67

Removed

12/10/19

Chandni Whitening Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

28,289.46

10/12 available

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

33,082.92

10/12 available

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

4352.68

10/12 available

Goree Day and Night Whitening Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

29,686.28

10/12 available

Goree Whitening Soap

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

32,504.63

10/12 available

Sandal Whitening Beauty Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

26,320.95

10/12 available

Face Fresh

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

12.385.26#

10/12 available

Due Whitening Beauty Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

16.664.79

10/12 available

Golden Pearl Whitening Beauty Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

4711.69

10/12 available

Faiza Beauty Cream

South Africa

Pakistan

BidorBuy (e- commerce platform)

5152.27

10/12 available

Jiaoli Cream Jaoe whitening Yan Ying, skin care set

USA

China

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

1800.00

10/12 removed

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

USA

Thailand

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

19 000

10/12 available

Chandni Whitening Cream

USA

Pakistan

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

14,000,00

10/12 removed

Sandal Whitening Beauty Cream

USA

Pakistan

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

21,000,00

10/12 available

Face Fresh

USA

Pakistan

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

15,000.00

10/12 available

Goree Day and Night Whitening Beauty Cream

USA

Pakistan

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

23,000.00

10/12 available

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

USA

Thailand

eBay, USA (e-commerce platform)

14,000.00

10/12 available

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

USA

Thailand

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

16,000.00

10/12 removed

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

USA

Pakistan

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

25,000.00

10/12 removed

Chandni Whitening Cream

USA

Pakistan

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

3400

10/12 removed

Whitening Ginseng and Pearl Cream

USA

Thailand

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

8700

10/12 removed

Whitening Ginseng and Pearl Cream

USA

Thailand

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

8600

10/12 removed

Chandni Whitening Cream

USA

Pakistan

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

22,000.00

10/12 removed

Goree Whitening Beauty Anti-ageing spots pimples removing Cream

USA

Pakistan

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

26,000.00

10/12 removed

Kim Whitening Pearl and Snow Lotus Cream

USA

Thailand

Amazon, USA (e-commerce platform)

13,000.00

10/12 removed

* According to the packaging

# Average of the two readings in Table 9, Appendix G.