The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has warned Nigerians not to use unapproved cosmetics because the dangers were largely irreversible.
The Director-General NAFDAC, Prof. Mojisola Adeyeye, gave the warning during the media sensitisation workshop on dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory controls for South South Journalists in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Adeyeye, who was represented by Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, Director, Drug Evaluation and Research, said the menace of unapproved cosmetics such as bleaching creams in Nigeria had become a national health emergency that required multi-faced regulatory approach.
According to the NAFDAC D-G, the unapproved cosmetics used banned and toxic chemicals to achieve skin lightening effects that leaves the user with undesirable effects.
She listed some of the harmful effects of bleaching creams to include cancer, damage to vital organs of the body like kidney and liver.
It also causes skin cancer, irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolonged healing of wounds.
The DG said that the World Health Organisation in a 2018 study, revealed that use of skin bleaching creams was prevalent among 77 per cent of Nigerian women which was highest in Africa, compared to 59 per cent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 per cent women in Senegal.
She said that the essence of the sensitisation workshop was to train Journalists and stakeholders, who will inform the public on the dangers of those cosmetics.
Adeyeye added that the sensitisation workshop was a Train the Trainers’ programme with the great expectation that participants would assume role of champions in the campaign against use of bleaching creams in the country.
She added that after the sensitisation campaign, the agency would take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.
The director general thanked journalists and stakeholders for their collaboration and support for NAFDAC to rid the country of the menace of substandard and falsified medicines, unwholesome foods, corrosive cosmetics and other substandard regulated products.
Representatives of Pharmaceutical Society of Nigeria, cosmetics manufacturers, supermarket operators, Nigerian Customs Health officials, amongst other stakeholders attended the workshop.
Earlier, Dr Abubakar Jimoh, NAFDAC Director of Public Affairs, said the war against menace of bleaching cream across the country was sequel to a resolution of the 2022 Senate, promoted by Sen Oluremi Tinubu.
According to Jimoh, the Senate resolution crystallised to a memorandum from the Secretary to Government of the Federation directing NAFDAC to strengthen its regulatory functions to curb the menace.