Banned Skin Products Still Circulating on Market

13464 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
A visit by URN to cosmetic shops and supermarkets within Kampala found that several banned products; lotions, creams, and soaps were sold freely. A number of traders feigned ignorance on the ban which was announced early this year by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.

A number of skin lightening cosmetic products that were banned for containing dangerous chemicals are still circulating on the Ugandan market.

A visit by URN to cosmetic shops and supermarkets within Kampala found that several banned products; lotions, creams, and soaps were sold freely. A number of traders feigned ignorance on the ban which was announced early this year by the Uganda National Bureau of Standards.

Over 100 different types of cosmetics were banned mainly for health reasons. They include 98 creams, 30 lotions and over 20 soap brands.

According to the World Health Organization, Mercury, a key ingredient in most of the products, causes Kidney damage, skin damage, rash and reduces the skins ability to resist bacterial and fungal infections. It adds that the other ingredient; Hydroquinone is linked to cancer, organ system toxicity and, respiratory tract irritation.

Hope Nakintu, one of the cosmetics dealers in Wandegeya says she did not know about the ban until last month. Indeed, her shop is filled with a number of lotions and creams, on the list of banned products.

Nakintu says that although she supports the ban, traders should be given more time to dispose off their products.

Hajat Sophie Lutalo, another dealer in lotions says that although she knew about the dangers of Mekako and other skin lightening products, she is surprised to see some of the products she once had on the list. She says a cream like Caro light that has been banned does not contain Hydroquinone according to users.
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Peter Mwambi, a trader who runs a supermarket says that although the ban was announced, many people missed it. He however adds that he has disposed off most of the products and takes precaution while purchasing new stock.
Jova Katushabe, a user of cosmetics has welcomed the ban saying often consumers fall into the trap of marketers who sell substandard product without due consideration to the effect on the users.
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Maurice Musuga, the information officer UNBS states that come July 1, all the 177 products tested and found to be harmful will be confiscated from the market.  He says traders have been given enough time to dispose off the products.
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About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.