The PeerCorps Trust Fund, via its Centre for Injury Prevention and Community Safety (CIPCS), enthusiastically announces its recruitment of skin-bleaching expert Dr. Kelly M. Lewis of GlobeCoRe, Inc.
Skin-bleaching has become a pervasive and unsettling phenomenon throughout Africa with often devastating consequences. In Tanzania, up to 30% of women (and some men) use harmful chemicals to bleach, tone or lighten their skin. Their reasons for doing so have included to be more “European-looking”, to satisfy peers or to find a partner. Because toxic ingredients such mercury and automotive battery acid are combined with various bleaching agents, this increases the risk for serious health problems such as irreversible skin damage, cancers, organ failure and infertility.
PeerCorps-CIPCS recently collaborated with Dr. Lewis on efforts seeking to characterize the phenomenon as having particular relevance for injury prevention practitioners. This is due to myriad overlapping aspects which cut across several themes of importance for injury specialists. These include both the acute and chronic toxicity of the bleaching agents themselves, as well as the societal psychosocial and economic impacts which have yet to be documented.