Minister of State for Climate Change, Zartaj Gul, has revealed that 57 whitening products in Pakistan, including some international brands, contain cancer-causing elements.
She made these remarks while addressing a news conference in Islamabad.
A survey conducted by the ministry revealed that 57 out of 59 creams had mercury level above 1pbm, which is a matter of concern.\
The State Minister said that the manufacturers of whitening products have been advised to reduce the mercury level from the products.
Skin-whitening products manufacturers have been asked to reduce the mercury level in their products to 1pbm by the end of 2020.
Zartaj Gul said that the government is bringing an action plan to control the use of mercury and other harmful substances in skin products. She also urged the media to discourage misleading advertisements regarding skin whitening products.
She said that the government is encouraging industries to make mercury-free products and wants to take all stakeholders, especially makers of whitening creams, in confidence regarding the legislation on using mercury.
“We met CEOs of many manufacturers of skin whitening products and asked them to remove mercury from the products,” she said, adding that excessive amount of mercury in whitening creams is dangerous.
Gul highlighted that an international manufacturer renamed its product, Fair & Lovely, to Fair & Glow on the ministry’s recommendation.
She noted that the federal cabinet has approved the Minamata Convention on Mercury and that the ministry will pass and appropriate legislation to implement the convention.
The minister added that the Global Environment Facility (GEF) is funding the government to help protect the human health and the environment from mercury and mercury compounds.