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5 Years For Hydroquinone Dealers   
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Anyone who will be arrested for selling cosmetic products that contain hydroquinone, a banned substance, may be sentenced to jail for five years or even more, so the public has been warned to stay away from the dangerous product.

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.

Such recalcitrant people can also be fined a staggering GH¢ 72,000 by the court, Emmanuel Nkrumah, Head of Cosmetics and Household Chemicals at the Food and Drugs Board (FDA), has stated emphatically.

He said the court can also decide to impose a GH¢ 72,000 fine plus five years jail term to anyone who will be apprehended for selling cosmetic products with hydroquinone, urging the public, notably dealers of cosmetic products, to stay away from the banned product.

“It is illegal for anyone to sell cosmetic products that have hydroquinone in them; offenders can be jailed for five years by the court for breaching a law, which is intended to protect the health of the citizenry.

“This offence is also punishable by 6,000 penalty units and each unit is GH¢12 so in total such person would be ordered to pay a staggering GH¢72,000 fine. Such person can also be jailed five years and also pay the monetary fine of GH¢72,000 at the same time,” he stated.

Mr Nkrumah was speaking when some FDA officials held a roundtable discussion with some selected journalists in Kumasi on Wednesday afternoon.

The FDA insists that the nationwide ban on import and sale of cosmetic products containing hydroquinone chemicals is still in force.

It urged the general public to assist the FDA to help rid off such products from the market.

Kidney Disease

According to FDA, cosmetic products which contain 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.

Mr Nkrumah added that the FDA has intensified nationwide surveillance and enforcement of the ban.

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

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

He mentioned that cosmetic products which are laden with hydroquinone substance have been found to be very dangerous to its users and so the FDA has decided to ban it from the Ghanaian market since 2016.

The FDA, Mr Nkrumah disclosed, has realised that cosmetic products which have hydroquinone in them can cause ailments such as kidney disease, liver disease, skin cancer, skin thinning, body odour, among others.

The Head of Communications & Public Education at FDA, James Lartey, on his part, disclosed that some radio stations across the country have flouted the ban of advertisement of alcoholic products on their networks.

He, therefore, disclosed that the FDA has imposed administrative fine of GH¢25,000 on the affected stations (whose names he withheld from the public), adding that if the stations fail to pay the fine, they would be prosecuted.

Source: I.F. Joe Awuah Jnr., Kumasi

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