July 24, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 029-15
Friday, July 24, 2015

MEDIA CONTACT: Christopher Miller/Veronica Lewin (347) 396-4177
PressOffice@health.nyc.gov

Health Department Advises New Yorkers to Avoid Certain Ayurvedic Medications Found to Contain Elevated Levels of Arsenic, Lead, and Mercury

The heavy metal content in many of these medications greatly exceeded acceptable limits

The New York City Health Department advises New Yorkers to avoid certain Ayurvedic medications made in India by Shree Baidyanath as they have been found to contain elevated levels of arsenic, lead, and mercury. The levels of heavy metals found in these medications manufactured exceed the limits for arsenic (3 ppm), lead (2 ppm), and/or mercury (1 ppm) for certain food additives as referenced by the Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine of the National Academies.

In many of these products, the heavy metal content greatly exceeded the acceptable limits. Products had levels as high as 27,000 ppm of mercury, 470 ppm of lead and 240 ppm of arsenic. People who regularly use products containing high levels of heavy metals are at an increased risk for harmful health effects, including damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous and reproductive systems. The Health Department issued Commissioner’s Orders to cease sales at neighborhood stores where the products were found.

“Although not all Ayurvedic medications contain dangerous ingredients, lead and other heavy metals may be intentionally added to some of these medications for perceived therapeutic benefits. Ayurvedic medications are generally not tested for safety,” said Bureau of Environmental Disease and Injury Prevention Assistant Commissioner Nancy Clark. “These products are not safe for human consumption. No one should sell these products and no one should use them. I urge New Yorkers to call 311 to report stores selling these products.”

Recommendations

  1. New Yorkers should immediately stop using these products.
  2. Those using these products should consult with their doctor and consider receiving tests for exposure to lead or other heavy metals.
  3. Call 311 to report locations where these products are being sold.

For a list of products, please view the Health Alert . For additional information, please click here .

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