When Buying Desi Kajals and Surmas, Please Be Careful of the Lead Content

I could hear the pillars of desi-hood crumbling and roaring in anger as I wrote the title for this post. Loving kohl is one of the commandments for being desi, and I promise I'm not trying to single-handedly destroy the culture wherein girls are named Kajal. Furthermore, nothing really compares to the blackness and sultriness of desi kajal. I find it infinitely more intense than anything available on the market. However, there is some reason to be careful when buying desi kajal.

The New York City Department of Health and Hygiene and the FDA have both raised concerned over desi kajal and surma. In an FDA testing of kajal and surma coming from the Middle East and from South Asia, they all tested positive for lead. In fact, some samples were found to contain more than half their weight in lead. There have also been reports of people suffering from lead poisoning because of the lead in kajal and surma.

The lead in kajal and surma was also a direct cause of increased levels of lead in children and adults. Some companies brand their kajal and surma as lead free, but they often contain antimony (sometimes in very high levels). This is a substance that causes symptoms similar to arsenic poisoning.

One very frustrating thing is that companies also don't list their entire list of ingredients. They list things such as 'base q.s.' or 'kohl stone.' In an attempt to sidestep the FDA, some companies have branded their own stamp of approval on behalf of the FDA stating that their products are FDA approved. The FDA has emphasized that this is not the case and that these kajals and surmas are still suspect and might contain high levels of lead and antimony. Finally, keep in mind that Middle Eastern and South Asian surmas and kajals have actually been banned by the FDA even though they are imported.

Just in case you were wondering, the New York City Department of Health and Hygiene and the FDA have identified even these popular desi kajals as containing lead:

  • Hashmi Surma Special
  • Hashmi Kajal
  • Hashmi Kohl Aswad

I will try to get my hands on the comprehensive list of kajals and surmas that contain lead.

information sources: www.cfsan.fda.gov, www.nyc.gov


mylanqolia said...

Thanks a lot for this important piece of information! It's sad to read that those wonderful intense black kohls are pure lead bombs. I'm sure that my beloved Shingar kajal is lead contaminated, too. Well, I have an alternative product at hand but I guess, I'll miss the intensive black colour.

12:34 PM
Anonymous said...

Yes sadly disappionting but true

2:27 AM
Anonymous said...

thank you

6:58 PM
Anonymous said...

Do you know of any kajal that don't contain lead?

10:29 AM
Anonymous said...

They used to have lead in them.Now the new tube is lead free.I been using them for years and i am not dead.Baby's in India as well.If it was such a big great deal i doubt anybody would buy them.Lead in shoes,lead in electronics,in your lipstick.....the list is long.Best wishes and peace to all

1:11 PM
Anonymous said...

does shingar kajal contain lead in them?

10:59 AM
Anonymous said...

I think the western versions of Kajal, like by Guerlain or Givenchy don't contain lead. However, their staying power may not be as strong. Maybe the lead is what makes it smudgeproof XD

5:34 PM
Hashmi India said...

All Hashmi Kajal products are safe for eyes and has no lead content. You can check all relevant documents on facebook

All Hashmi Kajal Products Now available on http://www.snapdeal.com………… Free delivery on order of Rs.75, Cash On Delivery also available…. )))

For details on PAN India basis please join us on http://www.Facebook.com/HashmiKajal or mail on hashmiindia@gmail.com

Also Available on http://www.urbantouch.com……..

Both the the sites buy directly from the company so you can be rest assured about the quality.

5:47 AM
Silvia Accinni said...

any further news on the HASHMI surma lead content ? did they changed the composition?

I bought it from British website . British are so careful about health .

Also Hashmi website gives appearence of totally natural ingredients and confidence .

Please let me know if I have not to use it !!

6:16 AM
Anonymous said...

Years ago I bought a small tin of kajal which came with a small glass rod to apply it with. I bought it because my eyes were always watering and on the tin of kajal it said "prevents the accumulation of rheum" so I assumed it would stop my eyes watering. It did. My eyes never watered as long as I was wearing it and being black it looked like eyeliner so I looked better too. It smelt of camphor os something similar. Then I could not buy it any more because it was no longer available because of rules and regulations. I recently bought a pot of Blue Heaven kajal but it is not the same, it does not stop my eyes watering and it is drier in consistency. Does anyone know where I may obtain tins of the old style kajal? I am in the UK. I'm wondering if the reason the old kajal was so good was because it had lead in it?

7:53 AM
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