Skin whitening is very common in South Sudan, especially among the youth. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), skin whitening using soaps or creams containing chemicals such as mercury can cause diverse health effects on the human body.
The ban was made known on Tuesday 22nd January, by South Sudan’s Drugs and Food Control Authority (DFCA). The Secretary-General of DFCA, Mawien Atem Mawien stated that all whitening or lightening soaps and creams are illegal for import without any approval from DFCA, most especially those containing mercury and hydroquinone. He made this claim in order to protect the people of South Sudan from being exposed to harmful chemicals used in manufacturing skin lightening cosmetics.
South Sudan’s ban follows similar moves by South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ghana. However, it is unclear whether the ban will be effective as several other bans on polythene bags and export of charcoal have so far failed to materialize.
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