Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA) is warning pregnant women taking skin bleaching pills (hoping to lighten the skin of their unborn babies) to stop.
They issued a stern warning highlighting the dangers of such illegal drugs including birth defects, damage to the baby’s limbs and internal organs.
But reports claim the disturbing skin bleaching trend in Ghana still thrives. In 2017, Ghana banned bleaching products especially those that contained the infamous hydroquinone.
According to a BBC Africa report; Ghana’s Food and Drug Authority (FDA) said using Glutathione tablets for skin lightening purposes is “dangerous” and emphasised that “… no product has been approved by the FDA in the form of a tablet to lighten the skin of the unborn child,”
“The use of these drugs has gone to an alarming stage; it is ignorance that is making people do so. [The only things] that you take orally should be food, toothpaste and mouthwash, and not bleaching pills,” said the FDA’s head of cosmetics and household chemicals, Emmanuel Nkrumah.
In 2016, the New York Times reported on how vast skin whitening/lightening was- calling it a multibillion-dollar industry that “dominates the West African cosmetics market.”
Statistics show that approximately 77% of Nigerian women, 60% of Ghanaian women (and over 10% of Ghanaian men), 59% of Togolese women and 35% of South African women use skin lightening products.