·Says 80 per cent of cosmetics in Nigeria are now home-made
By Ignatius Chukwu
When you order that cream directly from a private producer not under the regulatory radar, how would be sure that the ingredients are what they were? Or, if some ingredients were undeclared, how would you know?
In the end, as a user or consumer, you have exposed your body to injections and ingestions of unknown chemicals.
The National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has come out to expose what has been going wrong for years under the skin of Nigerians, especially the females.
As e-commerce grows exponentially 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 sensitization 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, Mrs 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, hyroquinone, 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 velamin which she said protects the skin.
The next is that the skin is left unprotected and soon, cancer cells attack the person. She also said the body tries to force velamin 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 $32Bn worldwide, she said Nigerian women are found to rank highest in Africa with 77 per cent bleaching practice.
Speaking on ‘Safe Handling of Chemicals and Ingredients in the Cosmetics Industry, the Director of Chemical Evaluation and Research, Dr 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, Pharm 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, Dr 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), Mr 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.
NAFDAC can only shout and scream but the duty to listen and act is in the hands of the citizens. Its their skin that is in danger. The skins of NAFDAC workers appear fresh and natural. This is what they want other Nigerians to emulate.