Black eyeliner from Pakistan contains lead danger, Illinois AG finds

The Illinois Attorney General's office issued a consumer warning about a type of black eyeliner it investigated and found contained dangerous amounts of lead.

Hashmi Surma Special is a type of kohl, black eyeliner worn most frequently by Middle Eastern and South Asian women and girls. The eyeliner is also known as Suma or Kajal, Illinois AG Lisa Madigan's office said. The manufacturer is based in Karachi, Pakistan.

The eyeliner contains about 70 percent lead, the AG's investigation found, and is particularly dangerous because the heavy metal can be ingested through the eye.

Lead poisoning is most dangerous to children. Symptoms build slowly over time and can affect a child's mental development.

The makeup caused a case of lead poisoning in one child in New York, and another in Hong Kong, reported in May. Maryland has banned the product since late 2006.

Madigan advised the eyeliner be pulled from retail shelves. Those who already have it should stop using it immediately and dispose of it in household trash rather than down the sink or toilet.

The New York City health department issued a warning on Hashmi Surma and three other brands of kohl in 2007.






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