The Consumer Protection Agency (CPA) has cautioned the public against purchasing cosmetic creams and products that contain dangerous chemicals and steroids the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has banned from being sold in the open market.
According to the Agency, the chemicals – hydroquinone, mercury (hg), steroids and glutathione- contained in some of the cosmetic products mostly imported into the country, poses serious health risks to users who are mainly women.
He said although these items are supposed to be sold as prescription-only products, they are being sold on the open market to unsuspecting consumers.
Chief Executive Officer of CPA, Kofi Kapito, said numerous reports indicate that some of the skin-bleaching products cause systemic complications including hypertension, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, membranous nephropathy and nephrotic syndrome, insomnia and memory loss (Lartey et al 2017).
“Mercury and its compounds have been banned worldwide for use in cosmetic products on the skin,” he said.
He further noted that women who use these products stand the risk of kidney and liver disease, skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma), skin thinning, cataract, exogenous ochronosis (“Nensuoben”).
Bad body odour, Stretch marks, Fungal and bacterial infections and dermatitis, Impaired wound healing
“Pre-natal and post-natal exposure can cause permanent neurological damage (to the brain, spine and nerves) in children exposed to mercury during pregnancy and or lactation. Kidney toxicity, Fertility problems, Birth defects, Gastrointestinal toxicity, Liver toxicity, Damage to the brain, kidneys and eyes,” he stressed.
He thus urged the agencies in charge to take the fight to the various importers who are importing these products unto the market.
“As a country we should enhance the effectiveness of the FDA and any other agency in enforcing the mandate given them to protect the Ghanaian public from harmful products.
We cannot allow our brothers and sisters to be misinformed and miseducated about the usage of these harmful products,” he said.
It further noted that the CPA was not against any importer or business person who does what is permitted within our laws and regulatory guidelines.