Household and Personal Care TODAY
n 3/2011
main components found in our samples were: amorphous
carbon/a carbon-based organic molecule (6/1), iron
compounds (goethite and hematite) (3), calcium carbonate
(as calcite or aragonite) (2), zincite (1) and halite (1).
This study shows that traditional eye cosmetics (“kohls”) were
readily available in the various souks of Sudan, and about 1 in
any 3 purchased would contain a lead compound (galena). Of
the samples where labelling
present there would be no real
information of lead’s presence (though it was perhaps
“indicated” for two samples). Some (2 of 7) of the galena-
based kohls contain it in a form (i.e. small particle size) that
makes it more easily absorbed into the human gut. We can only
reiterate that this element has no known biological value and is
an insidious cumulative poison having potentially devastating
cognitive effects if applied regularly to young children.
We would like to thank the following people for their help in the
course of this study: Mr. Paul Auchterlonie (Librarian for Middle
East Studies, Exeter University, United Kingdom) for Arabic
translations and Prof. Sajjad Rizvi (Institute of Arab and Islamic
Studies, Exeter University, United Kingdom) for the Urdu
translations. Also, we would like to thank the staff of the
Chemical and Materials Analysis Unit (University of Newcastle,
United Kingdom) for the experimental LVSEM work mentioned in
this article.
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23. See (under ‘K’):
using XRPD (19-21 and Figure 4) our percentage lead value is
lower than that found for the samples purchased in the United
Kingdom (55 percent) (19), and much lower than the values
found in Kuwait (85 percent) (20) and Nigeria (100 percent) (21).
There are other significant differences, and some similarities,
between the results obtained here and in our other country
studies. For the kohls of Sudan we have found that six of twenty-
one (29 percent) samples were coloured (i.e. shades of red (3),
grey-white/white (2) and yellow (1)), and
were being used by
the local population. Only one of these six coloured samples
contained a lead compound --- that is galena as a minor
component of a red-brown sample from Saudi Arabia. In some
of our other studies we have found coloured kohls, but usually
for sale to the tourists (e.g. Egypt (1-3)). In one of the three
previous studies done by us on kohl samples from modern-day
Egypt (3), we found that two of the five coloured samples
studied contained lead compounds. However, a lead
compound was found in five of the eight coloured samples
purchased in Syria (9); where these kohls
all used by the
local inhabitants.
Five the 21 samples studied here were made in India (4) or
Pakistan (1). This is unlike the kohls from: Oman (17 of 39), Qatar
(17 of 19), the United Arab Emirates (16 of 18 in Abu Dhabi city
and 38 of 53 in the other six Emirates); but similar to those from
Egypt (3 of 41), Yemen (3 of 9), Morocco (1 of 9) and Syria
(none). Also, like Egypt (34 of 41), Yemen (at least 4, and
possibly 6, of 10), Syria (13 of 18) and Morocco (8 of 9); but
unlike Qatar (none) and the Emirates (1 found overall), the
number of samples made within the country of purchase
(Sudan) is high (10 of 21). Also, the number of our samples found
with no
(name) labels was high (13 of 21); which is slightly
lower than that found in Morocco (6 of 9) and much lower than
in Syria (15 of 18), but higher than found in Oman (approx. half
of the samples) and Yemen (6 of 10) and much higher than
Egypt, Qatar and the Emirates (8 of 41, 1 of 19, and 7 of 71
samples respectively).
For the 6 samples that were made in Saudi Arabia, 3 (50
percent) contained galena as the main component. The other
three (shades-of-red) samples made in Saudi Arabia (two of
which were made in Medina) were all based on iron
compounds (goethite and hematite mixtures). One of them,
made in Medina, containing a significant amount of galena
(approx. 21 percent) as a minor component. A recent study of
the (elemental) composition of kohls purchased in Saudi Arabia
showed that 12 (75 percent), of the 16 samples purchased,
contained lead (range: 12 to 78 percent) (22).
The two
kohls purchased were found to consist of a
mixture of aragonite and halite. The source material for these
samples were cuttlefish bones; where cuttlefish are sea-water
molluscs. The local name for white kohl is
kohl al-malayika
angels’ kohl), and is said to usually consist of antimony sulphate
) --- although lead sulphate/oxide (PbSO
/PbO) are
said to sometimes be present as adulterants (23). None of these
compounds were found in our samples. It is used as a medicine
and also in averting the “evil eye”. White kohl samples have
been seen before by us; four were bought in the United Arab
Emirates (5, 6), two in Oman (4) and one each in Egypt (2) and
Qatar (7). The main components were found to be sassolite
) in five samples, calcite in two and talc in one sample.
These samples were made in Pakistan, India and Pakistan, and
Egypt respectively.
In the 21 kohl samples analysed in this study, 8 (38 percent)
samples had galena (PbS) present to some degree (7 as the
main component and 1 as a minor component). The other
1...,34,35,36,37,38,39,40,41,42,43 45,46,47,48,49,50,51,52,53,54,...76