Information about imported kohl, kajal and surma products found to contain high levels of lead.
Kohl, kajal and surma are eye cosmetics imported from Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Some of these products contain lead. Some people using these products have suffered lead poisoning.
Lead is a poisonous metal that can damage the brain, nervous system, reproductive system, kidneys and other parts of the body. Children and pregnant women who use products containing lead are especially at risk.
When a person uses these products, some of the kohl, kajal or surma can get onto the hands. The user may then ingest the lead through hand-to-mouth contact. Some lead may also be absorbed through the eyes.
There are many varieties and manufacturers of kohl, kajal and surma. Any of them can contain lead. Recently, the New York City Health Department found the following products to be contaminated:
It is difficult for users of these products to tell the difference between safe and dangerous brands. A product may contain high levels of lead even if lead is not listed as an ingredient on the label.