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Senate moves to regulate distribution, marketing of bleaching cream

NAFDAC has been directed to regulate importation, formulation, and sale of cosmetics within Nigeria.

Senators expressed concern with the damaging effects of harmful cosmetic products during plenary on Tuesday, February 16, 2021 [Nigerian Senate]

Senator Remi Tinubu raised the motion during plenary to urge the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to wake up to its responsibility to protect Nigerians against harmful cosmetics.

She expressed concern with the proliferation of small and medium enterprises and businesses that have flooded the Nigerian market with beauty products whose production are not well-regulated.

The senator raised concerns that products used for skin lightening are not indicating ingredients, or expiry dates to enlighten users of their content.

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"The Senate is worried that it is impossible to determine that hygiene, quality assurance and good manufacturing practices are adhered to in the formulation of these products," she said.

The lawmaker noted that side effects of cosmetic products can be damaging and cautioned that the market is regulated to protect Nigerians.

While seconding the motion, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani said bleaching cream is especially damaging to the skin and should be regulated to ensure safety of Nigerian consumers.

He said the advertisers of the products should also be regulated by the relevant regulatory agency because consumers are likely to believe anything they see.

Senator Barau Jibrin said improper manufacturing of the products can be harmful to Nigerians, and NAFDAC must ensure that what they do is up to standard.

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"Those who fail to go in line with the established regulations, the full weight of the law must be brought to bear on them. We must make sure that we protect our people," he said.

Lawmakers resolved to mandate the Senate Committee on Health to investigate the procedures in place for certification on quality and safety of cosmetics, and propose a way forward for accountability.

They also directed NAFDAC to regulate importation, formulation and sale of cosmetics within Nigeria, and maintain a products database, showing name and address of manufacturers, and ingredients list.

The agency was also directed to commence a sensitisation and awareness campaign on the ills of harmful substances, and work with the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) towards ensuring the tracking of consumer injury.

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