News item

Lead Based Cosmetics Removed From Sale

Cosmetic products containing up to 70% lead - a prohibited ingredient for use in cosmetics, have been removed from sale in a shop in the Harehills area of Leeds.

Following a lead poisoning incident, Leeds Environmental Health services identified the trader and that the suspected cause of the lead poisoning was from a cosmetic product.  On 26 June 2013 officers from West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service visited the business and found fifteen ‘Hashmi Surma Special’ products on sale.

These items and five other suspicious products were seized by West Yorkshire Trading Standards and tested, the results showing they contained lead.

Traditionally Surma eye products are used in some cultures on children despite many containing extremely high levels of lead which can cause problems with the nervous system and cause learning difficulties in later life as well as having more serious implications.

Cosmetic Product Safety legislation in Europe prohibits certain ingredients in cosmetics and also sets out obligations for manufacturers, importers and retailers in the UK in relation to the correct testing and labelling of products to ensure their safety before placing on the market.

Cosmetic products should have a list of ingredients, name and address of the manufacturer or supplier, country of origin, a date of minimum durability or period to be used after opening, warning statements and precautionary information, batch and product function information where appropriate.

On this occasion the trader had been bringing cosmetic goods back after trips abroad visiting family members and was unaware of any obligations and that the products were potentially unsafe. The business immediately took the items off sale and had them destroyed. The business has received detailed advice from Trading Standards

Councillor Bill Urry, of the Trading Standards Committee, said: “Whilst some Surma products do not contain lead, many do. Consumers should only buy, and retailers only sell, cosmetics that are correctly labelled, including an ingredients list. None of the problem products were correctly labelled. If anyone has any concerns over the safety of cosmetics they should contact the Citizens’ Advice Consumer Helpline on 08454 040506”

Notes to editor

Tony Downham, Divisional Manager      0113 393 9701
Trevor Gray, Principal Officer                  0113 393 9880
DATE: 22 August 2013