According to the Authority, the cosmetics, some of which containing mercury, have entered the country as far back as 2010 from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), where they are not banned.
TRA caught up with businessman Emanuel Teza Karabona while attempting to ferry the cosmetics into this region. Of the incident they said; “The businessman who smuggled in the consignment through Kabwe Port in Nkasi District has been arrested and will face the wrath of the law.”
A Rukwa regional pharmacist said all of the seized cosmetics were not suitable for human used and products, some of which contained hydroquinone packed into 566 cartons included Carolight Lotion, Top Lemon, Princess Cream, Princess Claire, Top Claire Plus Lotion, Diproson Cream, Betasol, Mont Claire Cream, Dernotly cream.
Others included 12 cartons of Diproson Cream, Betasol (12) Mont Claire Cream (3) and a carton of Dernotly cream believed to contain a poison confirmed as Steroids.
"The incident shows that there is still a long way to go to win the war against banned cosmetics. Efforts to curb importation and sale of such products are paralyzed by availability of a readymade market, simply because they are inexpensive, stable and have a long shelf-life. Demand for the products is exploited by manufacturers, importers and retail sellers."
Warning falling on deaf ears with consumers..
Moreover; the Authority says that while products like these contain toxic ingredients that can cause cancers and other fatal illnesses, consumers have turned a 'blind eye and deaf ears' to calls and warnings on the risk that these products pose.
"It is understandable that everybody likes to look good, but that should not be at the expense of one's own life. Various studies have shown that a good per cent of those products which normally have long lists of not only difficult to pronounce ingredients but also contain one or more ingredients which are never publicly assessed for safety by manufacturers."
While relevant authorities such as TRA and the Tanzania Food and Drugs Authority (TFDA) play their part in getting hold of such products, consumers are being urged on their side to be extra careful when buying such products.
"Awareness campaigns should also continue to the fullest. Let us take serious note of not just the pretty face of cosmetics but also the ugly side of them."