Health experts have alleged that some expectant mothers in recent times are taking skin bleaching pills so they can have light-skinned babies.

In an interview with The Mirror newspaper, an obstetrician at the Healthlinks Medical Clinic, Dr Clarence O. Addo-Yobo, said this was a dangerous practice which posed health risks to the unborn child.

“It is unfortunate, but this is where we have reached. You find children with all sorts of defects, some with short arms and limbs. The practice is terrible and has effects on the status of the newborn baby.”

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He called on all expectant mothers doing such things to stop.

In a related development, the Head of the Cosmetic and Household Chemical Department of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA), Emmanuel Nkrumah, said they had received reports of the development.

He added that the FDA is yet to come up with statistics on the practice.

He said some pregnant women took in hydroquinone pills  (HQ) to lighten the skin of their unborn babies.

He urged those doing that to stop because “Hydroquinone is on the market for some medical reasons which should only be recommended by a medical practitioner. There are some skin conditions that require the use of hydroquinone, and it is used only for a short period. When the condition is cleared, you stop using it; but some of the women use it for lightening their skin, which is wrong.”

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Mr Nkrumah added that the practice could cause kidney and liver diseases, skin cancer, skin thinning and other infections to the mother and also have a negative effect on the baby.

He also called on parents who bleach their children to stop it.

“You go to schools and you will find bleached kids. Some of the mothers deliberately use bleaching creams on their children; it is a very serious thing, they should stop it.”

Mr Nkrumah said the FDA would embark on a campaign to ensure zero percent hydroquinone use in cosmetic products, adding that for some time now, the FDA had not registered or renewed products containing HQ.