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The National Agency For Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has decried the increase of bleaching creams abuse in the country saying users face the risk of cancer

The agency, who spoke against the backdrop of a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, found that nearly 77 percent of Nigerian women use skin-lightening products regularly.

NAFDAC raised the concern during the launch of the South-South zonal media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams and regulatory control on Monday in Port Harcourt.

The Director-General of the agency, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, who was represented by the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr. Leonard Omokpariola, stressed that people, who continue to use and patronise bleaching creams and other related cosmetic products faced the risk of becoming susceptible to cancer, adding that abusers could also cause damage to their vital body organs, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature aging and prolonged healing of wounds.

She said: “Last year, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, acting on the resolution of the senate, wrote to NAFDAC stressing the need to take stringent regulatory action to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.

“We immediately took some decisive steps such as sensitisation of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence and raids on trade complexes that have resulted in large seizures and destruction of violating products.”

“A World Health Organisation 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 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa and 27 per cent women in Senegal.

“This scary statistic has shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faced regulatory approach.

“Part of the multi-pronged approach is consultative/sensitization meetings such as this and heightened raids on distribution outlets of bleaching creams.”

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