One arrested for trafficking skin bleaching products, vehicle and contraband impounded

On 9 September 2019 at 02:15

A vehicle loaded with 240 boxes of assorted skin bleaching products has been
impounded in Nyamasheke District.

The vehicle, RAD 131U was intercepted on Thursday at a check-point that was mounted in Gisakura Sector.

The banned skin bleaching products had been trafficked into the country through an illegal border and was being transported to Kigali.

Chief Inspector of Police (CIP) Emmanuel Kayigi, the Police spokesperson for the Western region, said that the driver of the vehicle identified as Daniel Nsengiyumva was also taken into custody.

He said that Police officers, who were on their usual duties stopped the vehicle, which was being driven by Nsengiyumva to verify all the required traffic-related documents.

"The driver had all the traffic documents, but in the process, they noticed boxes loaded in the same vehicle and when they verified they found he was transporting boxes of banned skin bleaching products that include Epiderm cream and Diproson. The driver was arrested and the vehicles, as well as the dangerous products, were impounded," said CIP Kayigi.

“When you caught in such acts you lose these products that pose health risks, imprisoned and that affects your individual or family development."

All lotions, oils, and soaps with hydroquinone were banned in Rwanda. They were scientifically proven to cause skin irritation and skin cancer, among other diseases,” he added.

Rwanda National Police (RNP), Ministry of Health as the lead agency, Rwanda Food and Drug Authority, Rwanda Investigation Bureau (RIB) and Rwanda Standards Board (RSB), launched the joint operation against skin bleaching creams, oils, and soaps, late last year.

Medical experts suggest that the two toxic chemicals; hydroquinone and mercury react with ultraviolet rays and lead to more pigmentation and premature aging. The more these products are used the less melanin the body produces, and this leads to an increased risk for skin cancer.

According to World Health Organization (WHO), mercury in skin lightening soaps and creams has side effects on the kidney, cause skin rashes, skin discoloration, and scarring, as well as a reduction in the skin’s resistance to bacterial and fungal infections.