Statement: Consumer Protection Agency Calls For The Withdrawal Of Some Banned Products From The Market

We are calling on the attention of the FDA and GSA and the general public about the increase of cosmetic creams and products that contain dangerous chemicals and steroids banned by the Food and Drugs Authority.

As a country, we were able to educate and inform the public about the abuse of these dangerous cosmetic creams used by our mothers, sisters and daughters to bleach themselves. Because of this education, bleaching by Ghanaian women went down to a very low level, we all remember the referring to women who over bleached and had some skin condition called (“NENSUOBEN”).

It looks like the practice has gone up again in recent times, apart from these cosmetic creams, some women have even gone the extra mile to now take capsules to bleach themselves and even wishes that their unborn babies would also turn out being fair.

The CPA is urging the agencies in charge to take the fight to the various importers who are importing these products unto the market.

The FDA is implementing the National standard GS 227:2-2017 which does not allow the inclusion of hydroquinone and mercury in cosmetic products.

This standard was set in 2006 (GS 227:2-2006) and was reviewed and replaced in 2017 by the Ghana Standards Authority’s (GSA) Technical Committee (TC) with the current standard GS 227:2-2017 (List of Substances not Permitted in Cosmetics).

The membership of the TECHNICAL COMMITTEE (industry, academia, regulators, trade associations, consumer groups etc.) reviewed the draft document taken into consideration global trends with particular interest to what pertains to Ghana. As a country we should enhance the effectiveness of the FDA and any other agency in enforcing the mandate given them to protect the Ghanaian public from harmful products.

We also take this opportunity to inform any business and importer of these products to adhere to directives from the regulators.

We cannot allow our brothers and sisters to be misinformed and miseducated about the usage of these harmful products.


 Rwanda in November 2018, placed a total ban on all products that bleached the skin; taking a cue from similar directives in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

 The Kenya Bureau of Standards banned cosmetic products containing hydroquinone; this ban was gazetted in August 1998.

 Hydroquinone is also not permitted in cosmetic products in South Africa and Nigeria.

 Hydroquinone and Mercury are not permitted in cosmetics products in Ghana as per the Ghana Standards GS 227:2-2017 (List of Substances not Permitted in Cosmetics)

 Japan in 2001 banned hydroquinone in cosmetic products.

 Cote d’Ivoire in 2015 banned the use of hydroquinone in cosmetics products.

 Tanzania FDA does not permit the use of hydroquinone and steroids in cosmetics.

Mercury and its compounds have been banned worldwide for use in cosmetic products on the skin.

Numerous reports indicate that the of skin-bleaching products causes systemic complications including hypertension, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, membranous nephropathy and nephrotic syndrome, insomnia and memory loss (Lartey et al 2017)



 Kidney and Liver disease

 Skin Cancer (squamous cell carcinoma)

 Skin thinning

 Cataract

 Exogenous Ochronosis (“Nensuoben”)

 Bad body odour

 Stretch marks

 Fungal and bacterial infections

 Dermatitis

 Impaired wound healing

 Has been linked to some cases of diabetes and hypertension.


 Pre-natal and post-natal exposure can cause permanent neurological damage (to the brain, spine and nerves) in children exposed to mercury during pregnancy and or lactation.

 Kidney toxicity

 Fertility problems

 Birth defects

 Gastrointestinal toxicity

 Liver toxicity

 Damage to the brain, kidneys and eyes.


 Acne

 Macular hyperpigmentation (darkened patches or spot on the skin)

 Hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth above normal on the skin)

 Telangiectasia (dilated blood vessels on the skin)

 Striae (stretchmarks)

 Diabetes

 Cutaneous Atrophy (skin thinning)


 Kidney and Liver disease

 Skin cancer

 Exogenous Ochronosis (“Nensuoben”)

 Bad body odour

 Stretch marks

We are also urging the media to take up the campaign of educating the general public of the dangers associated with the usage of these harmful products.

The CPA is not against any importer or business person who does what is permitted within our laws and regulatory guidelines.

We also want to suggest to the regulators that product that fall within the permitted range must be sold per prescription from Health Professionals but not as an over the counter product.

Thank you.



Source: Derrick Baafi/