Burkina Faso and Botswana Advocate for Ban on Harmful Whitening Creams

Ouagadougou — Burkina Faso and Botswana have jointly proposed a stringent ban on the advertisement and sale of whitening creams containing mercury, as reported by the Russian News Agency TASS, referencing coverage by the South African newspaper Daily Maverick.

According to Burkina Information Agency, The proposition emerged during the meeting of the Minamata Convention on Mercury, which took place in Geneva, Switzerland, from October 30 to November 3. These two nations highlighted the health hazards associated with mercury, an active ingredient commonly found in skin whitening creams that are popular across the African continent. The long-term use of such creams can lead to diminished protection against bacterial and fungal infections, resulting in skin conditions such as rashes and cracks.

Despite existing commitments by states party to the Minamata Convention to prohibit the sale of skin-lightening products with high mercury content, enforcement challenges persist. The Daily Maverick points out that illegal trade of these products continues to thrive, often facilitated by online platforms.