A public health alert in New South Wales has had to be issued after three children in the region fell ill, suspected to have been caused by using eyeliner contaminated with lead.
The kohl cosmetics produced by Pakistan-based Hashmi were found to contain 84 per cent lead, the BBC reports, as well as other hazardous metals. The New South Wales state government said that although these products were legally imported, packaging was in fact dangerously misleading.
Other nations have already issued health warnings about this particular brand in the past and the products are actually banned from sale over in the US. Australians have now been advised to stop using the products, with Australian Border Force set to examine the matter further.
State minister overseeing regulation Matt Kean was quoted by the news source as saying: “An investigation indicated the health concerns were likely to have been caused by one of the Hashmi brand eyeliners … Some of the product packaging even specifically states that no lead is present, which is a total disgrace.”
Interestingly, back in the 18th century there was a high incidence of lead poisoning because the fashion was for red and white lead makeup and powder. The makeup caused the eyes to swell and become inflamed, changed skin texture and caused it to blacken and attacked tooth enamel.
Now, under the Cosmetic Products (Safety) Regulations 2008, all ingredients – whether they’re natural or not – have to be compliant and there are lists of banned substances that can’t be used in any products, product lists that are restricted by percentage use and positive lists for preservatives, colours and UV filters.
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