Public health risks from heavy metals and metalloids present in traditional Chinese medicines

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2007 Oct;70(19):1694-9. doi: 10.1080/15287390701434885.

Abstract

Out of 247 traditional Chinese medicines (TCM) investigated, a proportion were contaminated with arsenic (5-15%), lead (approximately 5%), and mercury (approximately 65%). Some preparations exceeded the tolerable daily intake (TDI) for males and females for arsenic (4 and 5 products, respectively), lead (1 and 2 products), and mercury (5 and 7 products). These exceedances were as high as 2760-fold, which posed a potential danger to public health. As many users are known to self-prescribe, there is a substantial risk of poisoning from the consumption of these contaminated TCM.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arsenic / isolation & purification*
  • Arsenic / toxicity
  • Child
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Lead / isolation & purification*
  • Lead / toxicity
  • Male
  • Maximum Allowable Concentration
  • Mercury / isolation & purification*
  • Mercury / toxicity
  • Models, Statistical
  • Risk Assessment / methods

Substances

  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • Arsenic