Lead exposure from the use of Lawsonia inermis (henna) in temporary paint-on-tattooing and hair dying

Sci Total Environ. 2008 Jul 1;397(1-3):244-50. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2008.02.055. Epub 2008 Apr 14.


This study reports the evaluation of a number of spectroscopic techniques used in identifying and quantifying the presence of lead in twelve commercial and traditional henna samples. The lead levels found in henna were low with concentrations ranging from 2.29 ppm to 65.98 ppm. Henna is used as a traditional cosmetic and remedy in the Middle East, Far East, and North Africa. The very low concentrations of lead measured in these henna samples were reassuring; however, the cumulative effects of prolonged lead exposure may be of concern. Thus, the use of henna especially among children may constitute a public health risk.

MeSH terms

  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Hair Dyes / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Lawsonia Plant / chemistry*
  • Lead / toxicity*
  • Tattooing*
  • United Arab Emirates


  • Hair Dyes
  • Lead