Consumer caution is needed

As consumers, we tend to assume the products we buy are safe to use and trust they won’t poison or injure us or our families.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Product recalls usually occur after a number of people—often children—have been injured, become sick, or die as a result of using or consuming a product.

More disturbing, however, is when consumer protection standards and laws exist but non-compliant products still slip into the market while consumers remain unaware.

The recent case of Hashmi imported eyeliner found to contained high levels of lead is one example of non-compliant products reaching the marketplace.

The danger of lead, particularly to young children, has been known for many years and is controlled by standards, laws and regulations in such products as toys, cosmetics and personal care products and the environment.

In the case of cosmetics, the Australian Government’s National Industrial Chemicals Notification and Assessment Scheme (NICNAS) ensures that chemicals used in manufacture do not cause significant harm to users or the environment, while Trade Practices Regulations for cosmetics and personal care products require that all intentionally added ingredients are listed on the product label.

While relevant authorities have launched an investigation into the recent case of non-compliant imported eyeliner, several children became sick before the problem was identified and authorities alerted.

The take-home message for consumers is to choose your products with care and be aware that even though the product is on the shelf doesn't guarantee 100% safety especially if the brand is a knock-off copy or the labeling has been falsified.

If you or someone you know has purchased Hashmi brand eyeliners, stop using them immediately and seek medical advice as soon as possible.

Sue Wicks, Department Head, Kids Health, SCHN