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Banned creams sale continues


July 5, 2020

Islamabad : All the 56 brands of the fairness and beauty creams that were declared dangerous by the climate change ministry due to presence of excessive amount of mercury in them are still being sold in the markets with complete impunity.

The climate change ministry had paced up its efforts in collaboration with UN Environment Programme (UNEP) to check free-wheeling use of mercury in different economic and health sectors.

In its renewed efforts, the climate change ministry got to know that out of 59 samples of local and imported fairness and whitening creams 56 contained more than one percent of mercury that is hazardous for skin and can cause cancer.

The ministry after shocking lab reports about fairness and whitening creams announced that the companies manufacturing dangerous whitening creams would be sealed after December 31, 2019 and action would be taken against those responsible for doing this illegal business.

But, unfortunately, the announcement made by the ministry proved to be only a lip-service and publicity stunt to grab attention of the general public.

It is pertinent to mention here that an international media organization in its report in 2017 also exposed Pakistani beauty brands that rang alarm bells across the country.

Many other reports also revealed that people especially young girls think that the beauty creams are better for their skin but they actually cause much worse than expected.

The climate change ministry in its report prepared by Bushra Afzal, Sajid Raza and Dr. Zaigham Abbas in 2018, stated mercury content in skin whitening creams exceeding the permissible limit (1ppm) should be considered potential risk to human health and their manufacturing, sale and use should be phased out at the earliest.

“There should be a complete ban on the production and sale of skin lightening creams with total mercury content above one ppm as per the requirement of Minamata Convention on Mercury,” the report said.

This correspondent approached the spokesperson of the climate change ministry on last Friday but he did not provide official version till filing of this story.