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29.04.2004 General News

Publish list of unsafe bleaching creams - Researcher

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Accra, April 29, GNA - Ms Katie Robinson, a Researcher, on Thursday recommended that, government should publish a list of creams that are unsafe, and take steps to get them off the market to help people avoid accidental bleaching.

She said advertisements of such creams should be regulated since the content has medical effects on those who use them while efforts should be made to warn those who patronise them.

Ms Robinson, who made the recommendations during a presentation on skin bleaching in Accra, said the government should also enforce regular testing of creams, make law on prescription more effective.

She said a survey conducted in the years 2003-2004 with 608 participants at various markets and transit hubs in Accra indicated that about 40 percent of women and 20 percent of men were bleaching their skin for various reasons.

Ms Robinson said the most common bleaching agent, hydroquinone, was not proven to be safe even in concentrations of two percent and that most bleaching creams in Ghana contained hydroquinone concentrations between four to six percent.

She said Ghana had already banned hydroquinone of greater than two percent but urged the government to pass a legislation that sought to make the substance less than two percent, which is the basic prescription and make sunscreen content mandatory.

Ms Robinson mentioned thinning and weakening of the skin, nephrotic syndrome, skin cancer and neurological impairment as some consequences of skin bleaching.

She said bleaching should be made socially unacceptable since all skin colours were beautiful.

Ms Robinson noted that making people aware of the consequences of bleaching would make them stop the habit adding, "understanding leads to prevention".

"Don't encourage friends to bleach and don't compliment them for lightening skin" she added. 29 April 04

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