Ja may consider .... CRACK DOWN ON BLEACHING

June 04, 2016
In this photo taken February 15, 2011, a woman applies skin-bleaching cream to her legs as she sits on a kerb in downtown Kingston.

Ja may consider ...


The recent decision by Ghana's government to ban cosmetic products containing the skin bleaching ingredient, hydroquinone, has ignited conversation in Jamaica about the possibility of the Government following suit.

Vendors who peddle bleaching products downtown are discouraging the Ministry of Health from taking a similar position.

"Right now, this is how nuff woman down here make money. Why dem a go try stop we earnings?," said Claudette Stewart, who has been selling skin bleaching products for a number of years.

Another vendor, Taniece Brown, argued that it should be the decision of the consumer what they spend on and that the Government has no business meddling in that area.

"If people want bleach, why would a Government ban it? A fi dem decision so we no think nobody fi a try stop people from buying what them want," said Brown.

public health

Minister of Health, Dr Christopher Tufton, said no discussion has taken place within the Government about a possible ban on skin bleaching products.

"Any product that may pose risks to public health and being used in a way that compromises public health is one that the Government should look at," said Tufton.

The minister, however, said that a balance will have to be struck between the consumers' right and need to regulate usage of such products.

"Our consideration is the extent to which a product compromises the good of a society. If it is the latter, then we would have to look at it closer to determine where to go," he said.

"It is something to be looked at, there may be need for greater regulation, but I would not be prepared to take an extreme position about outright ban," he said.

Ghana, in announcing the ban on bleaching products, joins countries like Australia, the United States and Japan which have implemented similar regulations.

cosmetic bleaching

Meanwhile, pharmacist Adrian Ashman has cautioned that distributors may find other ways to buy and sell cosmetic bleaching products if a ban is imposed.

"Persons will find different channels to get the products into the country because it is a booming industry with a big demand," he explained.

According to the pharmacist, it should be the personal decision of the consumer if they want to lighten their skin, but he discourages it because of the links of bleaching to cancer.

"Any product that degrades the melanin, the pigment which protects the skin, increases the likelihood of skin damage and also skin cancer so persons should desist from cancer," he said.

But vendor Stewart, who says she has been bleaching since age 15, disagrees that there is a link between skin-bleaching and cancer.

"Years me a bleach now, and me never go doctor and them say me have have cancer," said the 38-year-old who is among many persons who said the Government should mount a horse of a different colour.