Company Agrees To Stop Distributing Eye Cosmetic That Contains Lead
ANNAPOLIS - Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached an agreement with a New York-based food and cosmetic distributor, Best Foods, Inc., concerning its distribution of Kohl eye cosmetic products. Kohl is a traditional eye cosmetic, popular in parts of Africa, the Middle East, Iran, Pakistan and India, that is used on children. It has been repeatedly linked to lead poisoning in children. Testing by the Maryland Department of Environment of a Kohl product marketed using the brand name Hashmi Surma Special showed that the product contained dangerously high levels of lead. In September, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, M.D. banned the sale of Kohl products in Baltimore after two children whose parents had applied the product around their eyes were diagnosed with lead poisoning.
Under the Settlement Agreement, Best Foods agreed to stop distributing Kohl products in Maryland and it is cooperating with the Attorney Generals Office to identify its supplier of Kohl products, as well as any markets or other outlets through which it may have distributed Kohl products.
Lead is one of the most significant environmental health hazards for Maryland children and this office will do its best to see that this type of product is not sold in Maryland, said Attorney General Curran.
Kohl products are known by multiple brand names, including Kajal, Al-Kajl and Surma. The Hashmi Surma Special product that was tested by the Department of Environment had been imported from Pakistan and sold through a market in Baltimore that identified Best Foods as its supplier. The Attorney General urges anyone who possesses or has used Kohl products under these or any other names to not use the products, particularly with their children, unless either the product labeling or the manufacturer can confirm that the products are free of lead.