The National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control has advised Nigerians against the use of bleaching or “ skin whitening” chemicals because they could lead to cancer and kidney malfunction.
The Director-General of NAFDAC, Prof. Moji Adeyeye, gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Abuja.
She said her advice became necessary against the backdrop of the recent seizure of a large number of skin whitening chemicals by NAFDAC in Lagos.
“There are many people involved in these whitening chemicals, from glutathione injection to the tablets and other such chemicals.
“Sometimes last week, we got information that there were some people involved in these products at the Trade fair complex in Lagos and our Investigation and Enforcement team moved in and confiscated four trucks of glutathione.
“We are concerned about glutathione because it can cause skin cancer as well as kidney dysfunction and failure; this is what people do not know.
“People should stop bleaching their skin; we should be black and proud. NAFDAC is on the spot to ensure that these dangerous products, which come in illegally are seized and destroyed,” she said.
The NAFDAC boss, however, advised Nigerians dealing in genuine foods and chemical products to ensure that their products get tested and registered with the agency to ensure they are safe for public consumption.
“If importers know that their products are safe for consumption, they should always ensure to put them through our normal registration process and not pass through ‘shortcuts.’
“We understand that not all unregistered products are bad, but Nigerians should always present their products for scrutiny. Some people just do not want scrutiny.”
She called for interagency cooperation as well as synergy as effective means of stopping the importation of illicit drugs to Nigeria.
“Multi-agency cooperation and synergy will also go a long way toward addressing the issue of importation of some of these chemicals into Nigeria. Most of these chemicals come in from China.
“I was in China recently and I have started mounting pressure on them to change their laws which allow them export products that are banned in their country to a place like Nigeria.
“The Foreign Affairs and Finance Ministries, as well as other relevant government agencies can also make a strong impact in that direction.”