December 28, 2006
GENERAL’S OFFICE SETTLES
WITH BEST FOODS
Company agrees to stop distributing eye cosmetic that contains
Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr.
announced today that his Consumer Protection Division has reached
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
General’s 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.