Fairness creams are already a nuisance as the products promote colourism and also set unrealistic standards of beauty. However, these creams have also become a health hazard as some of the products contain an excessive amount of mercury. The Minister of Climate Change, Zartaj Gul recently declared that they will initiate a crackdown on whitening creams that contain more than 1 percent mercury after December 31.
The toxic amounts were discovered when the ministry checked 59 samples and found 56 of them contained more than 1 percent mercury. Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Zartaj Gul called out these cosmetic companies and said, “These whitening creams contain mercury which is hazardous for female skin and can cause cancer. These manufacturers are bent on peeling our skin off to whiten it.”
The minister talked about how fairness products are a multi-million dollar industry, playing on our insecurities. “You play with our lives with these creams that you sell for as cheap as 10 rupees,” the minister said.
Gul firmly assured that the ministry will take stringent action against manufacturers of substandard and hazardous fairness creams. Many took to social media to share the list of creams, which not only include local brands but some famous international names as well.