The Ministry of Health is expected to introduce cosmetic regulations before the end of the year, Parliament was told on Monday this week.
When answering a question in Parliament, The Assistant Minister of Health, Gaotlhaetse Matlhabaphiri , stated that the regulations would come about when the existing Act on Drugs and related substance is amended during the current session of Parliament.
Matlhabaphiri was responding to a question by a Member of Parliament for Gaborone West North, Robert Masitara. The MP had wanted to know what mechanism were in place to make people aware of the risks associated with using products containing para-phenylenediamine (PPD) on sustained basis in Botswana.
The Minister explained that the chemical is generally found in cosmetics as a dye for hair and other products such as fur, photographic developing agents, garments and other textiles.
However additional information gathered by The Voice from the internet suggests that the chemical is globally considered to be a very potent contact allergen and can cause serious skin reaction, hair loss and corneal damage as it is contained in some eyebrow products such as Mascara.
Nonetheless, Matlhabaphiri said his Ministry has no public messages or education on the chemical.
“There are no specific messages for public education about specific chemicals in the many products in the market. Public awareness initiatives are on general chemicals, unless if there are specific concerns about an active ingredient in a particular product,” he pointed out.
He even suggested that the country has not received any concerns about the use of the products containing PPD.
“Nevertheless, my Ministry does spot checks to ensure that the material safety data sheet (MSDS) of all products received for the purpose of retail sales in Botswana contains all the required information,” he said.