Spices and Herbal Remedies Can Expose Children to High Levels of Lead, Researchers Report
The North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program has reportedly found that children can be exposed to elevated levels of lead through consumption of spices and herbal remedies. Angelon-Gaetz et al., “Lead in Spices, Herbal Remedies, and Ceremonial Powders Sampled from Home Investigations for Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels – North Carolina, 2011-2018,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. The researchers examined North Carolina counties that showed an increase of the number of children with blood lead levels “much higher than most children’s levels,” per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention standards. The researchers reportedly found that 28.8 percent of spice samples taken from 59 homes showed lead levels of more than one milligram per kilogram.
“Increasing testing of spices, herbal remedies, and ceremonial powders for heavy metals by food safety regulators at the port of entry when these substances are imported into the United States might reduce the occurrence of lead poisoning associated with these substances,” the study concluded. “Because these products are sold nationwide, setting a national maximum allowable limit for lead in spices and herbal remedies might further reduce the risk for lead exposure from them.”