Friday, May 11, 2007

Dangerous products are sold in Libya!

Most Libyan women don't feel complete unless their eyes are lined in dark black kohl. It makes them look beautiful and exotic - their dark eyes shining and the whites of their eyes appearing even more so with the effect of the kohl. But these products are really dangerous! Most contain large amounts of lead - in some cases up to 47%.

Lead is especially dangerous for pregnant women and children. Libyan women often decorate newborn babies eyes and small children with kohl. Besides it's use for cosmetic reasons, Libyan women believe that it prevents eye diseases, and argue that it was used by Prophet Mohamed.

The New York City Dept of Heath put out a press release warning against these products that are sold illegally in America for use by the immigrant population there. The article is very informative and I really recommend reading it and passing it along to anyone you know that uses these products. Link here:


  1. That is super-bad. I recall when I was kid and lead based paint (house paint) was very common. That was before the dangers of lead and brain damage were well understood, I guess. But a lot of little kids used to chew on flaking paint (I guess it tasted good, but then again most toddlers will put just about anything in their mouth) and a lot of those kids had some degree of permanent brain damage :(

    Do they need the lead? There must be some kind of substitute that would be just as good, no? Even if it cost a little more.

  2. Scary reading! Especially as I always use kohl; don´t leave the house without it. Allah (swt) created me with small eyes deep in my sockets - yet, I dunno whether there´s lead in my kohl or not. It doesn´t come with any consumer declaration.

    Then again, we consumers are in for it all the time by greedy liberalist companies. Last month my local supermarked sold 1-kilo bags of cannabis seed. For the birds, at a price of 2 USD.

    Imagine what kind of money one could earn there!

    Yes, the private marked doesn´t flinch at anything ;-))

  3. Salam Khadija, I really admire your committment to informing us about these issues. Please accept my thanks.

    Your hospital article, the toilet article, Rose Bud's Hospital article and the dangerous products articles all seem to have some implicit themes in common.

    besides the structural inadueqicies inherent in our government, I also think a common theme relates to the attitude of us, general libyans, towards our country and our people, wether we are in it our outside of it.

    I would sum this common theme up by saying that the majority of us libyans have no concept of 'respect of public right'.

    our [respects] attitudes are based purely on historical customs and familial conventions, completely removed from any understanding of public right, which is the foundation of free and civil society.

    I feel very sorry to say that we can call ourselves Muslims, while being in this predicament very much, because we have ignored the glorious Book that teaches us about civil living, and a documented tradition of 'public duty'.

    I think I will write a post about the abscense of respect for public right in libya. I honestly believe it's number one priority in libya for our younger generation.

  4. Not in the original Kohl though

  5. If you like to ask Ghaddafi question on BBC:

  6. Khadija,
    Thanks for posting the article. I used to put on the Saudi Arabian eye liner or kohl when I was a little girl as it helped cure the redness of my eyes due to allergies. I only used it for a few months.

    But I do still use black eyeliner to accentuate my eyes! But this time it's either an American or French product.

  7. I do my best to avoid using too much make-up... I have my eyelashes dyed about every six-weeks or so. The dye is made from crushed up insects! - it's safe and does away with the need for mascara.

  8. what we will do for beauty is sometimes to funny to believe. i would love to see one day were everyone walks out of their homes with nothing but clothing on. the beauty one would see would be so much more overwhelming then the made up versions. it will never happen but it is nice to dream.

  9. In fact such dangerous products are sold all over the world .. Noting that the original "Kohl" did not have such additives like Lead etc.. but greedines of manufacturers and mongers introduce such new formulae to compete and sell more and more crap ..

  10. Thanks for the info.

    Though as you already know I too am not one for make-up. I enjoy a clean face detest make-up.A good sun block and more or less nothing else. I simply hate the idea of being made up. Here In Tripoli one notices Libyan women wearing full make up day/night, that they look like the Japanese geisha !
    Make-up is supposed to enhance certain points and hide away faults.
    I dont know if its the lack of knowledge in puting on make-up or the cheap and dangerous quality that is being used......
    Public awareness programme (our never ending list)in putting on make up is in order lol

  11. In Pakistan one does the same although I am not sure there is lead in the kohl they use there. It is apparently good against eye disease.

    We miss you over at

    Don't be a stranger! :)

  12. Could somebody please tell us what is in the "original" kohl?

    If I remember correctly, Kohl in Libya is made out of a mineral that people call "Hargoosa." To me, that stuff looks like some sulfide minerals, e.g. iron sulfide aka (pyrite) or lead sulfide (galena).... Hargoosa needs to be burnt to convert it to Kohl, which sounds like what the mineral processors call "roasting." The burning converts the sulfide to some sort of metal oxide or metal sulfate.

    Anyway, if anyone knows the original Kohl mineral, please tell us. Or, better yet, send me a sample of the original stuff and I'll let you know what I find out.

    My guess is, with no regulation and no quality controls, anything goes. I wonder if they could just use graphite instead.


  14. I know this is kind of old . . .

    Suliman, there is a website ( that sells Pakistani kohl made with carbon and zinc oxide. Just looked at the toxicity effects of the ZO and they're kind of gross. XO I so wanted to get some, too.


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