Women around the world have long used kohl eyeliners to darken the upper and lower lash lines for a bold, dramatic look. In some cultures, even children wear kohl, and tradition sometimes dictates that a newborn's umbilical stump be painted with kohl. While using kohl can provide rich, saturated black color in a variety of circumstances, it typically contains a large amount of lead. Exposure to lead is associated with many health risks, making kohl a potentially dangerous cosmetic product. Does this Spark an idea?
Gastrointestinal EffectsThe lead in kohl eyeliners can cause a variety of gastrointestinal issues. One of the most common symptoms of lead poisoning is abdominal pain. Nausea and vomiting may also occur, leading to noticeable weight loss. Some kohl users may experience constipation as well. Newborns that accidentally ingest kohl debris may show symptoms of colic, while adults may suffer from indigestion, or an uncomfortable feeling of fullness in the stomach. In some cases, lead poisoning from kohl eyeliners may cause a lead line on the gums and other tissues lining the inside of the mouth.
Neurological EffectsLead poisoning associated with kohl may also cause neurological complications. Newborns with lead poisoning may reach developmental milestones more slowly than other infants. Older children who accidentally ingest kohl may become irritable, demonstrate signs of fatigue and experience learning difficulties. In adults, lead poisoning from kohl may cause bouts of memory loss, an inability to concentrate and mood disorders. Headaches are a common symptom as well. Lead poisoning may also cause numbness, tingling, weakness or pain in the arms and legs. In advanced cases, seizures and neurological disease are also possible.
Renal EffectsLead poisoning from kohl products may also cause chronic kidney disease or other renal complications. Hypertension, or chronic high blood pressure, may result from kohl poisoning as well. Left untreated, hypertension can lead to kidney damage or failure, cardiovascular disease, brain damage or stroke.
Reproductive EffectsKohl products can be especially dangerous for pregnant women. Lead poisoning has been linked to miscarriages, stillbirths and preterm births. In addition, if lead fro kohl poisons a mother, the physical and mental development of the fetus may be impaired. Males who accidentally ingest kohl may experience reduced sperm count and mobility, as well as abnormal sperm.