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77% Nigerian women risk cancer over bleaching cream

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The National Agency For Food And Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has raised the alarm over the increasing abuse of bleaching creams in the country, saying users risk cancer.

The agency spoke against the backdrop of a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) report, which found that nearly 77 per cent of Nigerian women used skin-lightening regularly.

NAFDAC raised the concern during the launch of the Southsouth Zonal Media Sensitisation workshop on the Dangers of Bleaching Creams and Regulatory Control yesterday 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, said continued use of bleaching creams and other related cosmetic products could also cause damage to vital body organs, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature ageing 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 per cent in Togo, 35 per cent in South Africa and 27 per cent women in Senegal.

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