17 February By James Itodo.
The Senate has mandated its committee on Health to investigate the procedures put in place in ensuring certification of quality and safety of cosmetics, on sale in Nigeria.
This is contained in a motion by senator Oluremi Tinubu representing Lagos
Central during plenary in Abuja.
The Upper legislative Chamber specifically asked the committee to carry out its investigation and report back at plenary within four weeks.
It also directed the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), to rise up to its duty of regulating importation, formulation and sale of cosmetics within Nigeria and maintain a product database, showing name and address of manufacturers and ingredients list.
Tinubu in the motion entitled “Need for the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control to move swiftly to regulate formulation and distribution of cosmetics” , said Section 5 of the NAFDAC Act, CAP N1LFN 2004 empowers it to control the exportation and issue quality certification of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical services, bottled water and chemicals intended for export:
She noted that the agency was also responsible for the quality and safety of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, table water and chemicals after appropriate analysis.
The NAFDAC Act according to her, defines Cosmetics to include any substance or mixture of substance intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled or sprayed, introduced or otherwise applied to the human body or any part thereof for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness or altering the complexion, skin, hair or teeth and includes deodorants and detergents.
The lawmaker expressed worry over the proliferation of small and medium businesses whose stock in trade is the formulation of beauty products ranging from lotions to oils, scrubs and soap, with many labelled handmade, natural or organic.
According to her the use of natural plants for beauty and medicinal purposes is as old as humanity;
“Organic products in modern formulations have gained renewed popularity as a result of concerns about synthetic ingredients and chemicals, and Nigeria is no exception.
” These products often contain the words glowing, lightening, whitening, half-caste while indicating no list of ingredients to enlighten users as to its content;
“Contrary to best practices, these products often do not provide a best before date; Concerned that the market for Cosmetics is huge, with women appearing to be the primary target;
“It is impossible to determine that hygiene, quality assurance and good manufacturing practices are adhered to in the formulation of these products.
” A substantial part of the problem is the absence of standards that these products must meet before they are made available to the public”.