Mercury, lead, and arsenic, oh my! Seriously folks, what's in your herbal supplements? Whether they are Chinese herbs or Western herbs or a blend of both you should know. A perfectly safe herb like chamomile in this picture can be terribly harmful if grown with pesticides. A government study on contaminants in herbal dietary supplements found lots more than the three dangerous toxins mentioned above. Gregory Kutz, Managing Director Forensic Audits and Special Investigations in his report given to the U.S. Senate, "Special Committee on Aging" in May 2010 (can you believe there is really such a committee), found high amounts of cadmium, and residues from organichlorine and organophosphorous pesticides. "These contaminants were selected based on prevalence and the likelihood of negative health consequences as a result of consumption." Guess what, heavy metals and toxins do cause negative health consequences.
It all started when the GAO office of the U.S. government purchased 40 unique single-ingredient herbal supplement products from 40 different manufacturers and submitted them to an accredited laboratory for analysis. The government survey identified the most commonly used herbs among the elderly as chamomile, echinacea, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, peppermint, saw palmetto, and St. John’s wort and then purchased these Chinese herb and Western herb products. As part of their investigation they had the herbs analyzed at independent laboratories. What's crazy, is not what the test showed about the supplements but that pesticide residue is not considered by the Food and Drug Administration, to be of regulatory significance. In other words, your herbal supplements can be contaminated with all kinds of pesticides and still be legally sold in the U.S. for health benefits.
Who's products do you buy? Do your homework and know whether your supplement manufacturer is testing products for dangerous pesticides and heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury. I, like you, want to know my herbs come from the cleanest possible sources and are not contaminated with chemicals before I ingest them.
A little secret. Pac Herbs products are some of the most tested herbs in the industry. Check out our manufacturer KPC for more information on all the testing they perform before raw herbs can be considered for processing.
Another article on herbal manufacturing and transparency of herbal supplement manufacturers.