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December 13, 2007

State public health director warns of lead in recalled product
“SINDOOR” found to contain extremely high levels of lead

SPRINGFIELD – Dr. Damon T. Arnold, state public health director, is warning consumers not to use a recalled product called “SWAD. SINDOOR.  Best Taste in Town,” an orange or red powder used in some traditional Middle Eastern ceremonies that is applied to the face or scalp.  Although Sindoor is never supposed to be used in food, some individuals may use it as food coloring.  Testing by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has found this product contains 87 percent lead.  IDPH has confirmed that two consumers who used this product as an ingredient in home cooked meals to have elevated blood lead levels.

“Ingesting lead can cause severe health effects.  Children six-years-old and younger are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies and nervous systems are still developing.  Lead poisoning in children, even at low levels, can cause developmental problems, learning disabilities, impaired hearing and behavioral problems,” said Dr. Arnold.  “But lead can also cause problems for adults such as nerve disorders, muscle and joint pain, irritability, memory problems and increased blood pressure.  I want to warn everyone who has this product not to use it due to its extremely high lead content.”

IDPH has determined this product was imported from India with improper labeling indicating use for food.  Raja Foods, Skokie, Illinois, the importer and distributor, is recalling the improperly labeled, lead contaminated Sindoor.  IDPH is working with the Food and Drug Administration and local health departments to assure that this product is not available to Illinois consumers.

As currently labeled, this product is not safe to have in a household as it could be accidentally ingested. Consumers who have SINDOOR, distributed by Raja Foods, should return it to the stor of purchase.  Persons who have consumed this product should check with their physician about potential elevated blood lead levels.


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