The Food and Drug Authority (FDA) has embarked on a three-regional sensitization programme in the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Eastern Regions to ensure Zero (0) Percent Hydroquinone in Cosmetic Products and the Restricted Time for the Advertisement of Alcoholic Beverages.

 The Head of Cosmetics and Household Chemicals Department of the FDA, Mr. Emmanuel Nkrumah, speaking during the programmes cautioned the general public against the use of cosmetic products that contain hydroquinone. He said the negative health effects caused by the use of hydroquinone in cosmetic products are irreversible and it has been linked to some cases of diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, skin cancer (squamous cell carcinoma) and skin thinning. The others are exogenous ochronosis (“Nensuoben”), bad body odour and stretch marks. 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 is good for fading hyper-pigmentation, acne marks, sun spots, and other skin discoloration issues.

 Mr. Nkrumah further disclosed that some of the other names of hydroquinone that may be found on cosmetic products are; Idrochinone, Quinol, 1,4-Dihydroxybenzene, Dihydrobenzene, 1,4-Hydroxybenzene and 1,4-Didroxybenzol. The others are Phiaquin, Benzoquinol, Benzohydroquinone, P-Benzenediol, Hydroxyphenol and Tequinol. It can also be called Eldoquin forte, Derma-Blanch, Solaquin fort, Aida and ARTI.

The Directive on the zero (0) % hydroquinone in cosmetic products came into effect in 2006 (GS 227:2-2006) and has been reviewed in 2017 (GS 227:2-2017) by the Ghana Standard Authority (GSA). Mr. Nkrumah, explaining the directive stated that “we have not banned hydroquinone from the country, what we have banned is hydroquinone in cosmetic products”. He has therefore urged manufacturers and importers of cosmetic products not to add hydroquinone to the formulation of their products and advised those who already have it in their products to reformulate and submit samples to the FDA for registration. Meanwhile, “the FDA has intensified nationwide Post Market Surveillance (PMS) and enforcement of the ban of hydroquinone in cosmetic products”, Mr. Nkrumah concluded. On his part, the Head of Communication and Public Education Department of the FDA, Mr. James Lartey, reiterated the FDA’s determination to enforce the restricted time for advertising of alcoholic beverages on television and radio stations as provided for in the FDA’s guidelines for the Advertisements on Foods (Section 3.2.6) and specifically the requirements for advertisements of alcoholic beverages. The article provides that the “Radio and Television advertisements shall not be aired between the hours of 6:00 am and 8:00 pm.”He further noted that the restriction on alcohol advertisements is to protect public health and safety especially, persons under the legal age for drinking.

Some countries that have banned the advertisements of alcoholic products advertisements on television, radio and billboards are France, Norway, Russia, Ukraine, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Kenya.

Mr. Lartey indicated that the FDA has been monitoring all TV and Radio stations nationwide since the enforcement of the guideline, effective 1st January, 2018 to identify the stations which flout the directive.

He therefore encouraged the media, advertisers, manufacturers and importers of alcoholic beverages to adhere to the restricted advertisements time stressing that failure to comply with the directive may lead to further regulatory actions being taken against them in pursuance to provisions of the Public Health Act 2012, Act 851.

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