From Tony John, Port Harcourt
A civil society group, Foundation of the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE), has raised concerns over dangerous talc products in circulation in the Nigerian market.
FOCONE has called on the Federal Government to withdraw all Talc products in circulation in the country because they are health-threatening cosmetics.
Briefing reporters in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Development Consultant to the group, Kingsley Ozegbe, noted that talc, a major component in powder and cosmetics production is not harmful on its own, but is often contaminated by asbestos during mining.
In a document signed by the Executive Director of FOCONE, Patrick Chiekwe, Ozegbe explained: ‘We wish to inform the public that some talc powder and cosmetics being sold in Nigerian markets contain asbestos. According to the WHO’s international agency for research on Cancer, talc that contains asbestos is classified as carcinogenic to human, they insisted that there is no safe level for asbestos.
‘The International Agency for Research on Cancer(IARC), and the United States Geological Survey at different times held that asbestos is found close to talc deposits underground and sometimes s contaminates talc when it is mined.’
The group called on National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), to begin a nationwide campaign on the dangers associated with contaminated talc powder, and other talc products in order to save lives.
The group claimed that the discovery led to the decision by an international company known for baby cosmetics to withdraw the sale of its products from the markets in the United States and Canada in 2020.
FOCONE regretted that the same products banned in the US and Canada are being shipped into the Nigeria market.
It called on the government to swing into action and order the J&J to also withdraw the products in Nigeria and stop the circulation.
Ozegbe said: ‘This discovery spurred a series of serious public pressure for the withdrawal of talc products from the public in US and Canada.
‘On May 19 2020, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) announced that it will discontinue the sale of its talc baby powder in the US and Canada after thousands of women who used the products developed ovarian cancer and filed lawsuits against the company.
‘Now, J&J has replaced its talc products with Cornstarch for those countries (US and Canada), but continued to sale off talc baby powder in Nigeria and other countries.’