LITTLE ROCK – Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will host a news conference Friday to announce a significant anti-counterfeiting law enforcement operation taking place in metro Little Rock. In addition to being a large-scale law enforcement operation, there’s a significant consumer safety angle as this operation is targeting counterfeit contact lenses, makeup and other cosmetics that are likely to be worn for Halloween – counterfeits often contain bacteria, heavy metals, or other toxins that pose a health and safety hazard.

A second news conference is planned in Fayetteville Friday morning where a second major operation is scheduled to take place.

According to a news release, while the operation is targeting counterfeit goods in general, the operation is also focusing on Halloween-related items such as counterfeit makeup, cosmetics and contact lenses that may be contaminated with lead and/or other toxins and pose a threat to consumer safety.

For contact lenses specifically, they are regulated by the FDA and it’s not legal to obtain lenses from anyone other than a licensed eye-care practitioner so if you see them in a Halloween-specific store, gas station, party store, etc., there’s a significant chance you’re getting counterfeit lenses that may be contaminated with bacteria or other toxins that can cause serious eye infection.