Eye Products Containing Lead Banned in Maryland

Best Foods Inc. (New York) has agreed to stop selling eye cosmetic products that contain lead in Maryland. Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr. announced Dec. 28, 2006, that his Consumer Protection Division had reached an agreement with the distributor concerning kohl-containing eye cosmetics.

Kohl-based eye products are popular in Africa, the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan, and India and have been linked to incidents of lead poisoning in children. A kohl product marketed as "Hashmi Surma Special" showed high levels of lead. In September, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, MD, banned the sale of kohl products in Baltimore after two children were diagnosed with lead poisoning after their parents had applied the product to their eyes.

Kohl products are also known by brand names Kajal, Al-Kajl and Surma. The Maryland Attorney General has urged users of kohl-based products to not use the products, particularly on their children, until manufacturers can confirm that the products are safe.

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