• Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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NAFDAC raises alarm over undeclared harmful ingredients in cosmetics

NAFDAC destroys N985m substandard drugs

As e-commerce grows in Nigeria, many producers especially in cosmetics send products without declaring all the chemicals and ingredients used in making them.

This is said to lead to high doses of cancer-causing ingredients hidden in those products.

The alarm was raised in Port Harcourt by the National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) during a one-day sensitisation seminar for Health Correspondents and other stakeholders.

NAFDAC said most producers either fail to declare or choose to under-declare the ingredients, and that users of such products transact online with the producers.

Various technical officials from NAFDAC both from the headquarters and from the regional office in Port Harcourt harped on the dangers of unregulated products which they said are more preponderance in the e-commerce segment.

The deputy director, Anto Ebele, warned that such practice is opening Nigerians to harmful effects of bleaching through cosmetics. She said some persons now inject bleaching agents into their bodies and become fair complexioned in 48 hours.

She said most of the hidden ingredients such as mercury, hydroquinone, and topical retinoids cause bleaching but send cancer agents into the body.

Explaining how it works, the expert said the chemicals eat up the upper layer of the skin and stop the production of melanin which she said protects the skin.

Read also: Community participation: Critical tool for sustainable public health interventions in Africa

The next is that the skin is left unprotected and soon, cancer cells attack the person. She also said the body tries to force melanin into the skin and this causes black patches on the bleacher’s skin.

Saying that the skin toning or bleaching is the fastest skin enhancement industry with over $32 billion worldwide, she said Nigerian women are found to rank highest in Africa with 77 percent bleaching practice.

Speaking on ‘Safe Handling of Chemicals and Ingredients in the Cosmetics Industry, the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Leonard Omokpariola, mentioned methyl methacrylate as a major cancer agent that also affects the foetus in the womb. He also mentioned ethanolamine, formaldenhyde, hydroquinone, dioxane, bulylate compound, phthalates, and other heavy metals such as mercury that must be avoided.

He advised Nigerians to be moderate in the use of cosmetics and in the consumption of chemicals into the body.

An assistant director for south-south, Chike Obiano, talked on ‘Cosmovigillance Best Practices’ while Linda Halim spoke on ‘NAFDAC’s Regulatory Control of Cosmetics in Nigeria’.

The director of Public Affairs, Abubakar Jimoh, explained the criticality of the awareness campaigns that were decided before raids and other enforcement actions would begin.

The president of the National Association of Health Journalists (NAHJ), Hassan Zaggi, tried to rally journalists in Nigeria round the war against cosmetics, saying whatever affects the society affects journalists too. He said the seminar series Nigeria was an effort to train the media persons that would have to explain the new war to Nigerians.