ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Standards and Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) has issued notices to beauty cream and cosmetics manufacturers over serious health concerns and has termed a leading beauty cream brand which is being produced in the country, a major health hazard.
As per a report issued by PSQCA, available with Pakistan Today, Faiza Beauty Cream has been found to contain carcinogenic ingredients as analysed by public sector and private sector labs in Pakistan, causing hazards to both skin and health.
According to the report, Faiza Beauty Cream is being manufactured by M/s Poonia Brothers, Gujranwala since 2011, which is now the largest manufacturer of “Skin Whitening Cream” in Pakistan. Interestingly, Faiza Beauty Cream contains mercury, hydroquinone and steroids and is sold all over Pakistan on wholesale, general stores as well as medical stores. The open market surveillance conducted by PSQCA in Lahore and Karachi of Faiza Beauty Cream has reported higher values of mercury.
The PSQCA liaison office Gujranwala has issued notices to M/s Poonia Brothers over the value of mercury being greater than 60 mg/Kg (60 ppm) which is much higher than the limits set by World Health Organisation (WHO) at 1 mg/kg. Mercury-containing skin lightening products are hazardous to health and as a result, have been banned in Pakistan.
In Pakistan Standards, PSQCA has already incorporated mercury, hydroquinone and corticosteroids limits in accordance with WHO. Moreover, Ministry of Science and Technology has issued Technical Regulation in the form of SRO 45 (KE)/2017 PS:3228/2017, dated May 19, 2017, to regulate “skin creams” all over Pakistan through PSQCA. However, there are reports of such products still being available to consumers while also being heavily advertised on different media channels.
“M/s Poonia Brothers has invested millions in the advertisement for “Faiza Beauty Cream”. Public awareness needs to be raised regarding the types of products and the specific products that contain mercury and the risks associated with mercury exposure,” the report said.
Meanwhile, this is not the first time PSQCA has raised an alarm over health hazard of such cosmetic products. PSQCA previously reported the availability of a mercury-containing beauty cream manufactured in Gujranwala several times. “Keeping in view the above facts, that Faiza Beauty Cream’s manufacturing unit at 10 km Allam Chowk Hafazabad Road Qila Didar Singh Gujranwala should be seized/closed as per the law,” the PSQCA suggested.
Since the company has not followed various notices issued by PSQCA, the authority, which is the only government body to monitor the quality of such products, has issued its final notice to the company on November 26, 2018, asking the company to stop producing, selling and making the stock of the products.
When contacted for the official version on the issue, Faiza Beauty Cream, Head, Kashif avoided responding despite repeated attempts. Every time, when approached, he asked for more time to answer the notices and the allegations brought forward against the company. No version was given by the company even after 20 days and despite repeated reminders.
A source at the Ministry of Science and Technology claimed that the company, instead of ensuring conformity of PSQCA standards, has been using political influences and tactics to bury the issue.