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Hydroquinone in cosmetic products causes kidney, liver disease – FDA cautions

Food and Drugs Authority

The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), on Tuesday affirmed that the nationwide ban on import and sale of cosmetic products containing hydroquinone chemicals is still in force.

It therefore urged the general public to assist the Authority to help rid-off such products from the market.

Hydroquinone is a skin lightener used in many whitening creams and dark mark fade treatments. It reduces the production of melanin in one’s skin and good for fading hyper-pigmentation, acne marks, sun spots, and other skin discoloration issues.

But, according to FDA cosmetic products which contained hydroquinone cause kidney and liver diseases, skin cancer, bad body odour, stretch marks and other infections and also linked to some cases of diabetes and hypertension.

At a media briefing in Sunyani, Mr Emmanuel Nkrumah, the Head of Cosmetics and Household Chemicals, of the FDA, said the Authority has intensified nationwide surveillance and enforcement of the ban.

He therefore warned importers and dealers in household cosmetics who had such products to dispose them or prepare to face the full rigours of the law.

Mr Nkrumah explained that the hydroquinone chemical could only be used in drugs for medicinal purposes and cautioned especially women who applied such body lotions to refrain from that for their own good.

He mentioned Idrochinone, Quinol, Dihydrobenzene, phaquin, Aida, APRTI, Tequinol, Derma-Blanch, Eidoquin-forte and Solaquin-forte as synonyms of hydroquinone, and advised the general public to be watchful when they buy cosmetic products.

Other names given to the hydroquinone chemical include 1,4-Dihydroxybenzene, 1,4-Benzediol, 1,4-Hydroxybenzol, Hydroxyphenol, P-Benzenediol, 1,4-Benzediol and Benzohydroquinone.

Mr Nkrumah emphasised that the FDA cherished its collaboration with importers and traders in cosmetic products indicating the Authority had no intention to collapse nay business but was working to promote health and safety.

He appealed to the media to intensify public education on the adverse effects of chemical on human health, saying that would also help users to desist from its use.

Mr James Lartey, the Head of Communications of the FDA, reminded the Authority was enforcing the restricted time of airing advertisements of alcoholic beverages on radio and television, which is from 0600hours to 2000hours.

He explained such enforcement was not directed to antagonise the work of the media, but as a good public intervention aimed at protecting the health of the general public.

“Alcohol is one of the most widely abused substances among the youth in the world over and underage excessive drinking poses enormous public health and safety risks on the nation’s healthcare systems”, Mr Lartey added.

He said currently about 75 percent of radio stations in Accra were complying with the directive, and entreated other stations particularly, those in the regions and districts to also obey.

Mr Lartey said the FDA recognises the media as an important tool to socio-economic development, and commended both the electronic and print for their contributions towards nation building.

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