National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised the alarm over the abuse of bleaching agent in the country, saying defiant users risk skin cancer, organ damage, and even death.
The director-general of NAFDAC, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, who disclosed this in a statement yesterday, therefore, warned Nigerians to desist from using unauthorised cosmetics and dangerous chemicals for bleaching of the skin to enhance their beauty. The DG expressed shock in the proliferation of beauticians engaged in formulation of unauthorised chemicals with the intention of applying them on their unsuspecting clients.
She said majority of spa outlets in the nation’s cosmopolitan cities are culpable of this unhealthy practice of mixing chemicals and natural products like pawpaw, carrot, etc. to make creams, for the clients use, adding that these are thereafter packaged, labeled, and sold online to clients.
Adeyeye lamented that the spa owners have gone further to influence some clinics with medical doctors joining to carry out these nefarious activities which has advanced to include injected substances vitamin C infusion and glutathione on clients.
She disclosed that most of the products used in these mixes are smuggled into the country and are unregistered, citing formulations containing Kojic Acid, and Hydroquinone that are above their permissible limits in the formulations and therefore at risk of causing harm. She pointed out that it was for the same safety reason that the use of mercury was banned in cosmetics.
“We don’t just ban products because they are bleaching agents but are prohibited because of safety issues surrounding particular ingredients in the products as they could cause skin cancer as well as damage the liver and kidney. She strongly highlighted the fact that the lightening of skin today could be cancer tomorrow,” she said.
The DG also noted that many of the importers smuggle the products into the country under the guise of global listing to bypass NAFDAC inspection, adding that bleaching has become a pandemic amongst both women and their male counterparts.
She further disclosed that the agency is on the heels of some people who engaged in online sales of dangerous unauthorised cosmetics and other products, adding that the Investigation and Enforcement Directorate of NAFDAC has been given the directive to apprehend merchants of these dangerous products and bring them to book.