By Mukhtar Tijjani
National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) has declared that about 77 percent of Nigerian women use bleaching creams.
Statistics indicate that Nigeria accounts for the highest number of women exposed to bleaching creams in Africa compared to 59 percent in Togo, 35 percent in South Africa and 27 percent in Senegal.
The director-general of the agency, Prof Mojisola Adeyeye, revealed this at the flag-off of a media sensitisation workshop on the dangers of bleaching creams held in the six geo political zones of Nigeria.
To the NAFDAC boss, the scary statistic had shown that the menace of bleaching creams in Nigeria has become a national health emergency that requires a multi-faced regulatory approach, part of which is the sensitisation workshop for the media which have a role of shaping the opinions of people.
She said the secretary to the government of the federation (SFG), Mr Boss Mustapha, acting on the resolutions of the Senate wrote to NAFDAC stressing the need to take stringent regulatory actions to stem the dangerous tide of rampant and pervasive cases of Nigerians using bleaching creams.
Adeyeye, said the regulatory agency took some decisive steps such as sensitisation of the public through different media outlets, enforcement through intelligence and raids in trade fair complexes that have resulted in large seizures and destruction of violative products.
Prof Adedeye who was represented by the director of chemical evaluation and research, Dr Leonard Omokpariola, challenged Nigerian health journalists to play frontline role in the concerted efforts of eradicating the menace of bleaching creams and needless waste of scarce resources in Nigeria.
Adeyeye listed some harmful effects of bleaching creams to include but not limited to cancer, damage to vital organs of the body, skin irritation and allergy, skin burn and rashes, wrinkles, premature skin ageing and prolong healing of wounds.