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20 September 2018

Product safety

Warning over lead in Hashmi eyeliner

NSW Fair Trading and NSW Health have detected the sale of the following non-compliant eyeliners from local businesses in NSW. The eyeliner products are called:

  • Hashmi Surmi Special
  • Hashmi Kohl Aswad.

Testing of these products showed dangerous lead content of up to 84%. These products may also contain high levels of dangerous metals like arsenic, cadmium, chromium and mercury.

Some people including children in NSW have become sick from using traditional Hashmi brand eye cosmetics because of the high levels of lead.

Lead is a dangerous metal. Even small amounts can make people sick, especially children.

The Hashmi branded eyeliners are known to be manufactured in Pakistan and sold in NSW and other parts of Australia.

Why are these eyeliners non-compliant products in Australia?

The eyeliner products were found to be non-compliant which is an offence under the Australian Consumer Law (ACL). This is because:

  • the information in the packaging is inaccurate or misleading
  • some packaging states that no lead is present in the product, and others state the ingredients are made of a particular composition. Testing results of these products have shown these statements to be incorrect
  • some Hashmi brand eyeliner products found in stores failed to comply with the mandatory information standard. Cosmetics must be labelled with the ingredients to help consumers make the right decisions when buying cosmetics
  • the purpose of mandatory standards is to make safety or information features on products compulsory for legal supply of the product into the Australian market. It is an offence to supply goods that do not comply with mandatory standards
  • the excessive level of lead within the products also cause them to fall within the definition of a prohibited import under the Customs (Prohibited Imports) Regulation 1956.

Is there a voluntary recall for these products?

Yes, a voluntary recall has been issued for these products in accordance with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) procedures. If a product or service presents a safety risk or is non-compliant with a mandatory standard or ban, it may need to be recalled.

As part of the recall requirements, traders and businesses supplying and selling these products must immediately remove them from their shelves and stop selling them.

Under the ACL, businesses who must stop selling these products can return the products to their supplier and seek a refund from them.

What is the fine or penalties for businesses selling or supplying non-compliant products?

Supplying products that do not comply with the mandatory standard is an offence under the Australian Consumer Law. It is punishable by a fine of up to $1,100,000 for a body corporate or $220,000 for individuals.

What do consumers need to know?

Consumers affected by these products may need to be aware of the information below:

  • NSW Health advises that people who have used these products should cease using them immediately and seek medical advice from their local doctor as soon as possible. For more information, contact your local Public Health Unit on 1300 066 055 or the Poisons Information Centre on 13 11 26.
  • Contact Western Sydney Local Health District on 1300 066 055 to get a copy of a fact sheet called Important Information about imported kohl, kajal and surma products in English, Hindi and Urdu.
  • Consumers who have bought these products should return them immediately to the place of purchase for a refund. Consumers have the right to a repair, replacement or refund if the goods are faulty, unsafe, do not work or appear as they should under the ACL.

How to dispose Hashmi products

The NSW Government is recommending that consumers follow this advice to safely dispose of product. Take all your product to the next Household Chemical CleanOut event in your area. It is a free service and is the safest and easiest way to dispose of it. Avoid putting your product in your council kerbside bin. Household Chemical CleanOut events are held across NSW. You can check dates and locations for Household Chemical CleanOut events at www.cleanout.com.au

Business-related and commercial quantities of this product cannot be accepted at your local Household Chemical CleanOut event or disposed of in your commercial kerbside bin. Please inquire with a commercial waste operator or visit ww.businessrecycling.com.au for commercial waste disposal. Further advice can also be sought from the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s Environment Line by phoning 131 555.

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