ENVIRONMENTAL watchdog EcoWaste Coalition warned Cebuanos seeking fairer skin complexion to watch out for cosmetics that may do more harm than lighten the skin.The group issued the warning after purchasing 11 unregistered skin whitening cosmetics for P60 to P130 each from various retail outlets in Cebu City. Thony Dizon, Coordinator of the EcoWaste Coalition’s Project Protect, said the test buys were part of their advocacy to stop the illegal trade of dangerous cosmetics containing mercury, a highly toxic chemical that is harmful to public health and the environment. Seven of the 11 skin whitening cosmetics, all bearing the Jiaoli and S’Zitang brands, were found to contain high concentrations of mercury above the trace amount limit of 1 part per million (ppm) as per the Asean Cosmetic Directive. Jiaoli Miraculous Cream and S’Zitang, both banned by the Food and Drug Administration since 2010, were found laced with mercury of 2,809 and 2,739 ppm, respectively. The non-notified products or not subjected to verification were Erna Whitening Cream, Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Whitening Foundation Cream, Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Anti-Wrinkle Cream and Cai Mei Sheep Placenta Moisturizing Cream. The group also urged the local government, health and police authorities in Cebu City to go after the distributors and dealers of contraband cosmetics.