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Gambia mulls unbanning skin-lightening creams

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The Gambia is considering a bill sponsored by the government to repeal a 24- year-old law banning skin-bleaching creams.

The law prohibits their importation, sale, possession and use.

Those pushing for the law to be repealed say it is discriminatory against women and girls in the country and not in line with the constitution, Banjul-based reporter Omar Wally told BBC Focus on Africa radio.

Despite the decades-old ban skin bleaching is practised by many Gambian women and it is believed that many local men prefer light-skinned women.

A popular Mandika saying says that “light-skinned ladies are a cure for flu-like symptoms”.

Skin-lightening products have been found to have toxic chemicals and their use could lead to serious health problems.

Some, as warned by British health authorities last year, may “act like paint stripper”.

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